#602 How to Sort Through a Loved One’s Belongings After They’re Gone Part 2

#602 How to Sort Through a Loved One’s Belongings After They’re Gone Part 2

602 – How to Sort Through a Loved One’s Belongings After They’re Gone Part 2

Have you ever had a loved one pass and had to navigate the delicate and nuanced situation of going through the items left behind?

Sweet friend, you are not alone.

Listen to How to Sort Through a Loved One’s Belongings After They’re Gone Part 1 and then join Kathi Lipp and her guest Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young, author of the book Breathing Through the Grief, A Devotional Journal for Seasons of Loss. Nine years ago, Dorina and her young daughters lost their 40-year-old husband and father to cancer. Listen in as Kathi and Dorina continue their conversation about love, honor, and preserving the memories of loved ones who have passed. They cover topics such as:

  • Creative and honoring ways to use your loved one’s treasured belongings
  • How to permit yourself to grieve
  • Journaling to help with the processing of trauma

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young wanted all of you to have easy access to an article she wrote highlighting ideas she and Kathi did not have time to talk about. Check out 10 Creative Ways To Honor A Loved One’s Memory (And Clean Out The Garage) for this valuable information.

Interested in Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young’s newest book she and Kathi talked about in the past two episodes? Check out Breathing Through the Grief, A Devotional Journal for Seasons of Loss to take a closer look.

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The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home

Homesteading [hohm-sted-ing]
1. an act or instance of establishing a homestead.
2. the act of loving where you live so much that you actively ignore the fact that your house is trying to kill you on a regular basis.

For Kathi Lipp and her husband, Roger, buying a house in one of the most remote parts of Northern California was never part of the plan; many of life’s biggest, most rewarding adventures rarely are.

Kathi shares the hard-won wisdom she’s gained on her homestead journey to help you accomplish more at home, gain fresh perspective, and give yourself grace in the process. Here’s a handful of the lessons Kathi shares:

  • Prepare before the need arises
  • Everything is always in process, including us
  • Your best household solution is time and patience
  • You don’t have to do everything the hard way
  • Be open to new and better ways of doing things
  • A lot of small changes make a huge difference.
    Highly practical, humorous, and inspirational, The Accidental Homesteader will encourage you to live with more peace, joy, and contentment.

Order your copy of The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home here.

Have you had any victories in curating the treasures of a loved one and how it helped with the grief process?

Share your answers in the comments.

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
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Meet Our Guest 


Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young is an author, speaker, Bible teacher, and spoken word artist.

Her passion is helping people discover God’s glory in unexpected places and flourish in their God-given callings. She wants you to become a glory chaser with her, running after God’s glory rather than your own. This has made a world of difference in every facet of Dorina’s life.

Her happy place is near the ocean with her people or running on a trail in the mountains near her home. A foodie, Dorina loves trying new recipes and restaurants. Tears, laughter, and good food are always welcome at her table. Guests are invited to come as they are.

Connect with Dorina at www.DorinaGilmore.com, where you can sign up for her Glorygram letter. You can also find her as @DorinaGilmore
on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.


Kathleen Lipp (00:00.926)
Well, hey friends, welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. And this is part two of just an amazing conversation with my friend, Dorina Gilmore Young. She talks about how after the death of her husband with three really little girls,

she went through the grieving process. And one of the parts of that grieving process was to sort through her husband’s belongings and how she was able to do that with love, honor, preserving memories for her girls, for herself, but also making sure that they could still live their lives in their home as her husband would have wanted them to.

So if you haven’t listened to part one, go back and listen to that and then join us here for part two of this amazing conversation about how to sort through a loved one’s belongings after they pass.

Kathi (18:25.45)
You know, what I love is that a lot of the things that you kept were not things that were gonna sit in a box in the garage. They are things that, you know, maybe the girls would want to wear those shirts, maybe not, but you could also say, you know, okay, you guys are in an age where this isn’t really interesting to you, so we can donate those things. Or, you know, we can, you know, I have…

I kept things from my grandma that I would use, like her recipe box, some Art Deco earrings, an apron that I don’t actually use, but it hangs in my kitchen because it just reminds me of her. And it may, but these are things that actually get used on a pretty regular basis. And so it’s…

It’s honoring to be able to use those things. It’s not disrespectful, even if they’re not being used in the way that you would expect. Your teenage girls wearing the sweaters and things like that. It’s a really beautiful thing. Let me ask you, I didn’t get clearance for this question. So if you don’t wanna answer it, we will cut it out, okay? So, but you’re remarried and you’re…

Obviously your husband knows about your first husband and have you incorporated any of Eric Lee’s stuff into your house and how does your husband feel about that? And did you have a discussion? Like how does that happen?

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (20:08.591)
Yeah, that’s something that can be a little complicated and nuanced for people, depending on the situation. We have a unique situation because my husband, Sean, and we’ve been married for seven years. He was one of Eric Lee’s best friends and they were actually friends before I even met either of them. So Sean has been on his own grief journey of losing his friend in addition to entering our grief journey and losing a husband and dad.

Kathi (20:32.995)

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (20:38.685)
He has been so wonderful at just really incorporating Eric Lee into our lives. I remember Sean saying, even after our wedding day, you know, the only thing that is sad to me about this day is that Eric Lee was one of my best friends and it seemed strange that he wasn’t standing up in my wedding. And when he said that, I was like.

That’s so true. It’s strange. So in many ways, it’s a marriage that incorporates the three of us because Eric Lee was such an influence on Shawn. And we see that reflection even in our homes. So when you walk into my home, you will see that one of the main ways that I decorate is through photo canvases. We have photographs of our family all over our home.

Kathi (21:14.178)

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (21:32.283)
We have a wall in our piano room where we have some of the family photos that Eric Lee was in. In fact, wearing that flannel shirt that I was talking about earlier. And then we have some of our newer family photos. We take a family photo every year. It’s something that’s really important to me and the girls. And you know, even some of the photos with my entire extended family that are part of it. And so Sean’s been so wonderful about that. And it’s probably the number one thing that people comment on

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (22:01.897)
I even have a little plaque that talks about like this is our story and the story is told through those photographs. The other thing is through books. So I’m sitting in my library right now. You can probably see all these shelves of books behind me and this is my office and I call it fondly my library because I always dreamed of having a library. But I do have shelves that include some of Eric Lee’s favorite books on them and his handwriting is in those books.

Kathi (22:13.216)

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (22:31.537)
so my girls can come in here and they can look at those books anytime. I also happen to have some of Sean’s books in here because that made sense for some of the topics that we’re mutually passionate about for them to be in my office. And I think it’s just such a representation of our lives kind of coming together. He’s never been trying to push those things off. And I really deeply appreciate that. I know that’s probably not everyone’s story, but because Sean and Eric Lee

Kathi (22:43.495)

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (23:01.637)
friends that makes sense for him too.

Kathi (23:04.566)
Yeah, oh wow. Okay, I don’t normally cry during these things, but you know, here we are. I wanna talk, I have one other question, but I wanna talk about your new book, Breathing Through Grief, a devotional journal for seasons of loss. Can you just tell me a little bit about that? Because I know that the people who are listening right now,

you know, are either coming out of a season of grief or, you know, an extended season of grief, they’re in the midst of it, or, you know, a lot of people in the coming months are going to lose somebody that they love deeply. Who is the book for and how is it used? Because it’s a journal, so how does that get used?

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (23:58.615)
Thanks, Kathy. Yes. So this is a devotional journal, and it’s written for someone who is walking through grief and loss. And honestly, this is the book that I wish I had nine years ago. I was so hungry for stories about people who had gone through or were navigating the grief journey as I was a young widow. And I also was hungry for that orientation towards God

prayer. And so my journal includes 25 devotional stories, which are just stories out of my life, like some of the ones I’ve been telling you today. And it also includes reflection questions that ask the person who’s reading to reflect on their own grief journey. I didn’t want to just be telling my story. There’s so many books that actually do that and do that well. But I wanted to invite

Kathi (24:51.267)
You’re right.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (24:58.589)
why we chose to do it as a devotional journal because I’m kind of positioning myself as the author but as a guide and honestly the only way through grief is through and so I can’t do the work for the person but I can kind of guide them on that path and even make space for them to journal their own process and there’s even brain science that says that when we write down the things that

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (25:28.449)
the trauma and so I love that aspect of the book because it invites people to go on that journey for themselves as well.

Kathi (25:38.502)
Mm. I love that. And guys, we’ll have a link to that in the notes. I especially think, you know, maybe three or four months after somebody you love has lost somebody. This might be, you know, I’m thinking about a friend who lost her beautiful daughter. And, you know, I wouldn’t want to hand this to her at the memorial service. I’m not giving you homework. But there are different stages of processing and

You know once everybody’s gone home Once the meal stop there’s gonna be a lot of time and space that for deep grief and This could be a really powerful tool to help process that and honor the person that you love so much You know for my friends who are you know are sitting here, and they don’t know that they’re gonna lose somebody

in the coming months or year. I would love for you to just kind of reach through the microphone and give your best piece of advice as, and I know no piece of advice can encompass everything, but what’s the thing that you wish you knew when Eric Lee passed that somebody might be able to anchor in their mind right now as they come upon a season of grief?

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (27:07.331)
You know, I think the most powerful thing that I always start with when I’m sharing with people about grief is that you have permission. You have permission to grieve. And that seems like such a basic thing to say, but it is amazing how much, especially if you are grieving a loss, how much expectation we feel, perceive, or actually receive from our communities, from our churches,

maybe your culture depending on your cultural background and what I have learned and what I recognize is that every grief journey is unique and so we need to give ourselves permission to grieve the way that feels natural for us and I learned this so profoundly even as a mom because I had girls at three different stages of development with three very distinct personalities not to

my mother-in-law who lost her only son, and a pretty wide circle of people who knew my husband well because he was a teacher and a coach and the director of a nonprofit. So I had layers upon layers of people around me who were grieving. At first, I kept trying to think of how can I care for others in their grief journey? How can I tend to others? Certainly, I needed to do that as a mom because I was dividing, I was kind of guiding my own children.

Kathi (28:29.912)

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (28:37.395)
I want to just say to that person who is grieving that you have permission and to give yourself space for that. The timeline is not finite. The timeline does not look the same for everyone. So my journal, for example, some people might need that in week two. And like you said, others might not be ready for that for five, six, two years, three years down the line. And that’s okay.

Kathi (29:00.15)

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (29:03.839)
If we kind of release ourselves from expectation and actually allow ourselves to enter into the grief and even lament, something powerful can happen on the healing journey. If we stuff it down or try to suppress our grief, it’s gonna come out sideways.

Kathi (29:18.987)

Kathi (29:22.43)
Yeah, and nobody wants that, especially the person who’s lost somebody. I grew up and one of the guys that I was dating when I was in high school lost his dad and he was Jewish and they had very specific ways of grieving in that family. And in that tradition, the Jewish tradition.

And I think that we as, or at least me, you know, who has, you know, I’m a mutt, I don’t, our family, our culture doesn’t have grief traditions. And so, you know, there was a freedom in coming up with those traditions with my dad, but there was also a burden. It would have been nice for somebody to tell me, this is what you do.

And we came up with ways to grieve, but I love that permission. And when I said, maybe wait three months to give the book, one of the things I always tell people when I’m giving them a book that I’m hoping will help them, I said, please know this is not homework. This is a resource. And so, if you don’t get to this for 10 years, I’m not gonna be checking on your homework.

I just want this here for you because I want you to feel supported.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (30:52.855)
I’m going to steal that line. I love how you say that. And that is again, permission for that person to grieve at their own pace in their own unique way.

Kathi (30:58.317)

Kathi (31:02.002)
Yeah, you know, the last thing I want to give you is a to do, but I want you to know that you are loved and supported. Doreena, this has been such a rich conversation. I so appreciate it. The book is Breathing Through Grief, a Devotional Journey for Seasons of Lost. We’ll have that link in the show notes and guys.

I’m just so grateful for this because we talk a lot about this in our large group, ClutterFree Academy that people have lost and they don’t know what to do with their stuff. And so guys, we will share this podcast in that group. And I would love for you if you’ve had some victories in being able to curate a loved one’s things with

honor and with grace. I know it’s a hard decision, but we want to help you through that. Okay, you guys. Doreena, thanks again.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (32:09.007)
Thank you, Kathy. It’s been good to be with you and I appreciate this conversation.

Kathi (32:14.39)
I appreciate it so much because we, like I said, we talk about this a lot. And friends, thank you for being here. I know these are harder conversations, but they’re so necessary because we’re all going to go through this at some point. And I want you to have the tools and the resources you need. You’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I am Cathy Lipp. And now go create the clutter free life you’ve always intended to live.

Kathi (32:43.762)
Okay, that may be a two-parter, because that was 30 minutes. I wasn’t expecting that, but that’s so great. Okay, let’s go. Let me go to the other one. You did a great job, I know.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (32:56.599)
I do have, I will mention that that, I think I might’ve even sent it to you, that article on creative ways to honor a loved one’s memory and clean out your garage, that is free on my website. And then it’s also printed in the journal. So that might be a way to kind of help people, you know, they don’t have to feel obligated to buy the book, but there’s lots of ideas there of how to do that stuff.

Kathi (33:10.554)
Oh, okay.

Oh, okay.

Kathi (33:23.93)
Okay, something went wrong with stopping. Okay, so I will, you know what? I will, I’ll go back and record a tag for that. I don’t, or you know what? Okay, whoever is editing this, if you can’t find the link to that article, please contact me and I, or yeah, ask Tiffany to contact me and we will do it. I’m trying to stop this recording and it’s not letting me.

so weird. Okay, I don’t want to lose the recording. So bizarre. Why is this is the weirdest day.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (34:02.687)
It says on my end it says 99% uploading. So it looks like it’s up. It looks like we’re still recording. I see the little red record thing in the top left corner, but it does also say uploading.

Kathi (34:06.938)
Okay, does it say that it stopped recording?

Kathi (34:15.89)
Okay, hang on one second. I just wanna do this without losing it. Give me a second.

Kathi (34:50.989)
It’s a very busy day for both of us. OK, so let’s see. I don’t know how to stop this. This is crazy. OK, I’m going to end session for all. And we’re just going to have to come back in. OK, so we’ll do our best.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (35:08.879)
Okay, no problem.