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Sharing a Collection of Memories

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Sharing a Collection of Memories


Stamps, fishing lures, silver spoons, teddy bears -  it’s an interesting human trait, this desire to collect objects - and it seems there are as many kinds of collections as there are personalities to cherish them. Whether it’s a serious pursuit of a rare find, or a casual compiling of everyday things with personal meaning, we come to identify these objects with the individual. A collection is a testament to the passing of time, its acquisitions like little milestones in a unique life. 

When we lose a loved one who found joy in building their collection of crystal or coins or comic books, the moment will come when a decision has to be made. What will become of that collection, when the collector is no longer with us?

Of course, it’s important to first establish if the collection is of monetary value or was bequeathed in a legal Will.  In most cases, the greater value lies in sentiment and significance, and families can choose to share the collection in some creative ways to help keep precious memories alive.

Here’s a perfect example:  Lisa S. of Toronto recently relayed the ingenious way her family commemorated her father by hiring a photographer to shoot a lovely still life portrait of his collection of pipes. Each family member received a beautifully framed copy and a single pipe of their choosing. This way, everyone had a comforting keepsake and no single person had to take on the responsibility of the entire collection.

Sets of china were commonly collected in years gone by and are now being passed down to generations with lifestyles that may not include formal dinnerware. Inherited dishes can be divided or donated, perhaps saving a single plate for each family member as a commemorative decoration for a wall or mantle. Pieces of broken china can even be used to create mosaic picture frames, ideal for family photos.

In the hands of a decent jeweler or metalsmith, silver forks and spoons become beautiful rings, bracelets and key fobs. It’s a wearable, space-conscious solution for dispersing inherited cutlery that loved ones can keep forever

Now, how about you?

When you’re preparing to downsize, or you’re completing a Will or final arrangements, it’s an ideal time to consider the future of your own collection. After all, without your direction, it could become a difficult emotional decision for those you leave behind.

If your collection is an important part of your legacy, consider giving certain items to your family now. Select a specifically meaningful piece or let them choose one they like, and then chat about its origins and what it has meant to you. This act in itself, can create happy memories.

You might even decide to sell the remainder of your collectibles and use the money for a professional photo shoot. What a special picture that would make -- a smiling you, surrounded by loving family members each holding their piece from your collection!

Categorized under: memorials, tips-for-seniors

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