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Dealing with stuff after the death of a loved one is overwhelming – all the hopes and dreams of a life together, all the decisions you will now make alone, in the midst of your grieving, seem impossible.

David left his 500 square foot studio filled with easels, art supplies, furniture, books and paintings, hundreds of them. Long before I was ready, I had to make decisions about what to keep and what to let go of because, for expense reasons, I had to get rid of the studio. David never let go of anything so there were many paintings which were not his best work. I wondered if he would be distressed or happy at my choices. I cried every day as I sorted, cleared, kept and released his stuff. I did not know what he would have kept because we never discussed it. We thought there was more time.

I couldn’t afford to store his things until later, until my grief eased, so what was left came home with me. And my home was full of Dave with very little room for me. I know he wanted to leave me a legacy of paintings to sell and live on but neither of us could imagine how long it has taken me to cope with being emotionally able to show and sell them. These painting sales are personal but not for those who will buy them. I wonder how David would price them and if he would approve of my actions as I do the best I can, not sure if it’s enough.

Life is short. None of us know how much time we will have. Check out this article on making these choices before you die so this won’t be the reality when you are gone for those who love you.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Kate Love