On Keeping Belongings

On Keeping Belongings – The 10th Anniversary of Gili’s Death.

By Henya Shanun-Klein, Ph.D.

If you ask a bereaved parent: “What would you have saved first (assuming that there were no people nor animals in the house) if your house was caught on fire?” My guess is that the parent’s response would be: “I’d try to save my (deceased) child’s belongings.”

Why? Because the bereaved parent is left with ‘lasts’, with ‘neverness’.

Each object – a symbol, not a replacement, of your child who once touched it or produced it. You can put your hand on the place that once was touched by your child, and symbolically your hands now touch. This ‘neverness’ then, for a fleeting moment, becomes more tolerable.

Keeping these last belongings – all or some – are important then to the bereaved parent. The attachment the parent feels toward these objects, which became symbolic representations of the deceased child’s life and the relationship the parent had with this child, enables the grieving parent to transcend his or her pain into a more evolved level of grieving. Which in turn facilitates the process of readjustment to living in this new reality.

Henya Shanun-Klein, Ph.D. is a bereaved mother, widow, psychologist, author, and speaker. 

To read this entire article, go to : On Keeping Belongings

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