Our feeding, sleeping, and work schedule have been interrupted by home improvement projects. Tedious, but good to clear the clutter and transform the work space.
But what if you have a room in the house that needs attention and it’s just too painful to go there? The years pass, the room becomes an unintentional shrine and you are afraid to let it go?
Enter Nate Berkus. Oprah’s favorite decorator. Nates’ assisted families that are coping with the loss of a loved one, in transforming a room without losing the memories.
Memory clutter is a more common problem than most people realize. People are terrified that if they let go of the loved one’s objects, they will lose the memory. Clearing the emotional clutter can actually help preserve your loved one’s memory. Sorting through the things that remind you the most, that represent the best, you honor the memory even more. Instead of the fear of losing the memory, you actually move to a place where the most important memories are honored.
In 2004, Nate and his partner, Fernando, were on vacation in Thailand when the devastating tsunami hit. Nate survived, but Fernando did not. “One of the reasons why your story was very touching to me was that I lost my partner very dear to me very suddenly, and it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that people aren’t things. They’re just not,” he says.
Nate says he held onto a voice mail Fernando had left on his cell phone for a year after his death. Not knowing his phone would automatically erase messages that were a year old, Nate was shocked to find it was gone when he went to listen to it on New Year’s 2006. “It forced me to realize that, that wasn’t Fernando, as sad as it was,” Nate says.
Nate tells the families that it’s a monumental day, “because we’re here to help represent the future and honor the past. And that’s really what we’re here to do.”
Next: Tips for freeing yourself from the emotional clutter.