When jewelry is inherited from a lost loved one, we often face a dilemma: while the memories behind the piece are wonderful, the piece itself is not our taste. The design of rings, necklaces, and bracelets can change significantly through the years. When this happens, these items tend to fall into obscurity, stowed in a box or drawer and rarely seen again. We hold onto these items because we don’t want to lose the memory of the loved one attached to it. We feel guilty if we let go. But the mistake is believing that the sentiment is attached to the actual object instead of residing within us.
The relationship and memories you had still remain, although many may feel they’re not honoring the person if they don’t keep the inherited pieces. Yet for others, hanging on to jewelry that is never worn and rarely seen is not the way they wish to pay tribute to their loved one either.
What to do with your inherited jewelry is a personal choice. There may be pieces that you’ll wear, even if only on special occasions, or that you cherish and want to pass down. But for the ones that will only be stored in a box, there are other ways to honor your loved one’s memory. Here are a few options you might want to consider.
If the decision is to let go of some of your jewelry but you’d like to make sure a reminder of the person is preserved, here are a few suggestions.
When deciding what to do with inherited jewelry, it can help to think of how your loved one would want to be remembered. Would they be pleased that through their gift, they were able to bring you or others joy?
Most likely they’d want you to be happy and enjoy thinking of them instead of feeling guilty for your choices. Unless specific instructions that you were not to sell or change came with the inherited item, hanging on to something that you never wear but feel guilty for letting go isn’t fair or a tribute to their legacy.
We need to realize that what we don’t want to let go of are our loved ones and the memories they left behind. But if we can repurpose or sell the jewelry and use the money to find another way to remember or bring enjoyment, surely that is an acceptable gift that we can give back to them.
The sentiment isn’t lost because you let go of a physical object and for many, keeping jewelry that will never be worn is not how they want to remember their loved one. Any choice that brings joy is a tribute. And regardless of what you decide to do about the jewelry, don’t forget that you can always honor them by reminiscing about times you shared or doing things they loved.
Whether to hold on or to let go is a decision that deserves careful thought but your answer shouldn’t be motivated by guilt. There is nothing wrong with letting go because it’s only the jewelry, not the relationship that you had or the memories. Those will always be yours to keep.
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