This was the headline in our local paper a few days ago. The young widow accidentally sold a suitcase at a yard sale that contained photos and special items that were of her late Marine husband with their children. I thought to myself, “Oh no … those photos are irreplaceable and probably gone forever.”
The article was a monumental effort across the country to appeal to anyone who might find it, as the buyers at the yard sale told the widow they would probably sell the suitcase at a flea market. To my knowledge, it has not yet been found.
A couple of things come to mind:
- We feel for this woman and all she has gone/is going through, and it was most likely a simple oversight that she forgot to open the suitcase prior to selling. As a professional, I can honestly say it’s vital to leave no stone unturned. Whether you are sorting through a loved one’s belongings, or you hire a professional, everything must be gone through with a fine tooth comb. You never know what you’re going to find.
- Professionals in my industry already know to sift through everything, but family might be experiencing emotions too strong to deal with it at the moment, feel as if they are in a fog for a while, or can’t quite get themselves to sort through the items in the depth they should — through no fault of their own. We understand grief and have compassion for our clients. Sometimes, an objective professional party can help the family through that, and ensure that everything has truly been sorted and gone through, so accidents like this don’t occur.
My heart goes out to this widow and her children, and I sincerely hope that whoever buys the suitcase with the precious photos of the fallen Marine and his children will find a way to get them back to their rightful owner.
© 2011, The Estate Lady