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My parents house is empty. (long)


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Almost immediately after my mom died and before I could wrap my head around it, my siblings had decided (amongst themselves) to sell my parents house.

I knew it was going to happen...but I didn't know it would be so soon.

I grieved and it was such an emotionally difficult time for me.

Then as soon as I had grasped the idea of my childhood home being "gone", the siblings changed their mind, and decided to allow a male relative to live there.....

OK...back-up, a whole new set of emotions to climb over....

As soon as I wrapped my head around that idea- I felt strong enough to visit my parents house around the 6-month mark. Everthing in the house was gone!

The relative had sold everything without telling us- (or rather, he told the other siblings who live out of state and they "didn't care", but no one told me) and everything was gone....it was stripped and sold of all the new furniture that mom had bought after dad died, all the electronics, TVs, beds, etc... the garden was dead or overgrown, and all her framed photos was thrown in a pile in my dad's (empty) office....

I just didn't think it could get any worse. And the siblings didn't want to "do" anything about it...

Last week this relative abandoned my parents house.

Me, two of my brothers and one of their friends went to clean it out and it was just horrifying for me.

I got there and neighbors were walking from room-to-room picking things up like it was a scavenger hunt.

I went into Dad's office, sat on the floor amongst piles of papers and photos and just cried and cried while my brothers and these people pillaged what was left of my parents life....

Mom and I had a tradition of giving gifts early- so that the other siblings wouldn't get jelous, and then giving a "small" gift at christmas. I had made her a scarf (never made anything like that before) and it was really long and kind of ugly...but she wrapped it around her neck three times after she opened it on Chistmas day and yelled "I love it!" It was so funny since it was like 72 degrees out. (She passed away suddenly less than a month later) I found that scarf and it was like finding gold. (relative couldn't sell that for $$ I guess)

In a back closet I found Dad's Kimono. It was made of silk and he had gotten it in the Navy while in Japan before he went to Vietnam and met my mom. He wore it at home almost everyday after his chemo treatments.


So in 33 years, I have my memories, some pictures, a retarded scarf and dad's kimono.

That's all I really need to be honest, since nothing will bring them back...

It's just so hard. Climb one hurdle and there are a half dozen more. Another pick at the scab that reopens wounds.

One day the house I grew up in will belong to someone else and then it will feel like I've lost my parents all over again.

Grieving stinks.

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Oh what a sad story, Katie :cry: . I am trying to envision strangers making their way from room to room like scavengers. I just can hardly do it. It's amazing what humankind is capable of, isn't it?

I am so sorry another layer of your life has been stripped away. These past many months with 'some relative' living there and then disposing of everything is just beyond comprehension. Maybe......just MAYBE, another family living there will bring some much needed joy/happiness into that house again. I guess that's not much consolation at this moment though, huh?

I have little from my folks as well. Their house was sold and knocked down ~ and where my childhood home once stood there is a ..........parking lot for the Ponderosa steak house!!!!! All I need from my folks is stored in my computer (brain) and it never falls offline. I can retrieve all that info immediately. And that is what brings me much comfort......not any THINGS.

Hopefully this will be the last of that scab getting picked off and it can finally start healing over. Always a scar.....just not open and weeping any longer.

Sorry, Katie.



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I don't know how you do it. I would be unglued. I would have unleased on the neighbors and my siblings and the mysterious relative. I can't even imagine what this does to your grief.

(((((Hugs))))) to you. And an offer to come down and kick some rears if you need. Bet we could get a posse rounded up, even.



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Katie, that must have been awful for you. I can easily imagine how much that hurts. While it's nice to have tangible reminders of those we love, no one can take away your loving memories. Stay strong and forgive them if you are able to. You'll be all the better for it.

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I am so sorry that you have to experience this. Before I could comphrehend what was happening with my mother in the first month of her illness;my brother emptied her apartment;I came back from the hospital one day to just scattered photographs and clothing on the floor;it was devestating;He moved her things out to a inlaw apartment in his home but the quickness, the abruptness of the move out of our childhood home was traumatic. To this day;I have not seen some of the items that remind me of her;I feel for you;It adds pain on top of pain. Your in my prayers;Sarah

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Katie-What a sad bunch of people. I am so glad you were able to find a few things of your parents that are special to you. I can't even imagine how you felt. You are a good person and like I always say "you reap what you sow"


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It is really hard. It was like that with my grandmothers home. My sister and I were the only ones who really cared - there were so many fond memories. But memories last forever and you can't destroy them. I closed the door on my house today...the house Gerald and I built 6 years ago. We built the house together - planned it all....landscaped it - loved in it, fought in it. Had great times with our family, friends and children. As the house was emptied and packed over the last few days I had a really hard time. However - today with just a few things left to do I took the time to go up to the sugar shack and read

the balance of the journal I wrote when he was sick. I had gone up and read most of it there when he died but I hadn't finished. I finished and read...and went back to the house. As I walked each room alone for the last time - and closed and locked each door - I realized that the house is just a shell...just like our bodies are shells of our souls. Empty it is nothing - it is what is in it that counts. These memories of yours are the "house". Try to think about it that way and maybe it could help. Thinking of you as I go through this too. Heather

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Sounds profetic, but...dont (try not to) leave the scabs in place to long. A scab will always bleed when pryed open. Leave it "open" heal from the inside out. Who cares who's watching, put that scarf on and be the ne vogue in your parents name! The kimono now thats a whole nother chapter on fashion!

Blessings and comfort hug being sent your way. Mary

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Good Lord.

No one could make that up....reality is just so cold and cruel. I admire that you didn't go insane and start taking them out one by one.

You will never be able to reason with people like that. Don't waste your time trying to make such irrational people make sense in your mind. They have to take "stuff" because that is all they see, and all they value. Thank heavens you are the kind of person who sees more.

I am angry for you, because I care for you. Could they even fill a room with people who care about them? You have filled an entire community (around the world) who loves you. I pray for some peace in all of this.


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Oh my GOD, Katie...I started sweating when I got to the part about the relative selling the stuff, and it went downhill from there. I cannot believe what I just read. You are an amazing, amazing person to live through all this without physically hurting someone. I am so very sorry this was done to you. I don't know what else to say...


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Oh Katie ~ I am so sorry for all you've been through! I'm glad that ungrateful relative is gone...just try to think of the next people who live there as looking for a place to make their own memories. I'm sure you have so many great memories from special times there, wouldn't you want another family to have that experience as well? I am glad you found some special momentos to hang onto...and just remember - nobody can ever take your precious memories!


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I'm so sorry that happened. I can't even imagine. (So happy that you found the treasures though.)

Okay, I'm now starting to really understand why you're so upset with your siblings...

I think that must have been heartbreaking to you. Particularly seeing things piled up, and having neighbors treat it like a rummage sale. I don't get that. Didn't these people know your parents? I think I might have snapped.

I don't even know what to say -- you said it all. Grieving sucks.


Thinking of you,

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I am so sorry you had to endure all that. My stepdad sold the house, it closed on mom's birthday last year, just short of the one year anniversary of her death. He gave any remaining furniture, incuding moms bed and antique dresser to the new homeowner, tellng her that we didn't want it, when actally, he told us the furniture had to remain while the house was shown for 'staging' then we could have it once it sold.

Anyway, the house is gone and some stranger sleeps in my moms bed and has her things on the runner that gramma embroidered.. it makes me hurt and prolongs my grief.

Again, I am so sorry. I am glad you were able to get a couple of things. I pray that the pictures of the way the house is now fade and your memories of what once was takes over.

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Thanks everyone for your replies and wonderful support. It hasn't been easy to go thru.

I don't fault the neighbors. They had been my parents neighbors for 25-30 years. I think they were just curious more than anything about what was going on and they HAD been invited in by my eldest brother. I had one of them give me an old Zippo lighter from the Korean War on Sunday. (The Navy had them engraved for the servicemen). It was my dads. My eldest thru it in the trash and a neighbor fished it out in case I wanted it.

I went back today- when no one was there and the house was SO incredibly "empty" feeling (it's totally empty) and different and I really grieved it- all alone- without "eyes" on me.

In the garage I found some boxes and trash bags full of junk. In two of the boxes were my dad's annuals from when he gratuated high school (1957) and his Navy album (1959-1960) from the USS Bennington. I also found MY original birth certificate and other "important" papers. I guess important now only to me.

I put the boxes in my car and left for the last time.

I am going to be ok.

I have a great family of my own, and a great family right here.

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The empty house is so, so hard! It really makes the passing of both of your parents slap you in the face.

Yet, i a funny way, it is cathartic to release that grief again. Once the house is empty, it's not quite so hard to let go of it for sale.

I am so sorry you have to go through this. Many hugs to you.


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