Give me a little while in an estate – any estate – and I will tell you more about that loved one’s life than most people who knew them. Walking into an estate, sight unseen for the first time, can be compared to an artist starting on a new canvas. We wipe the mental slate clean from the last estate and clear ourselves before going in to “receive” thoughts, feelings, and even a certain energy about the home and the people who lived there. One can sense many things immediately, if they are open to it.
In my career, I have handled the estates of young and old alike: the mentally ill, the lost souls, those who end their own lives, the hoarders, the estranged, those with dementia, eating disorders, chronic disease, those who died rich, and those who died poor. While these are all very different, I have come to the conclusion that in the end, we are all pretty much the same regardless of the situation that led to the eventual demise.
I went into an estate last week where someone ended their life. This is not common, but I see it a few times each year. The feeling is always the same once I have entered the home. I walk in and instantly feel a wall of despair. It is a profound sense of sadness. As I walk through the home, I will see other signs that something wasn’t quite right; either the home is too clean (as in OCD clean) or I see hoarding tendencies. Often scattered around in the strangest places, I will see liquor bottles coupled with a multitude of prescription bottles; you know what a dangerous combination this is. I look at what their hobbies and interests were, which will reveal much about them. And sometimes I can see conflict in their lives just by observing what was in their home. Was it mental illness, untreated depression, drugs, etc? We’ll never know. It is not unusual to sense that at one time, they were a very bright light.
If we are in the home for any length of time, would you believe me if I told you that my staff and I begin to cry, or that we are filled with sorrow we don’t understand? It’s as if we can feel what they felt. We can feel that they were “stuck” in a dark place even though they had much to offer. A very sad situation indeed. We always end up praying for that person (for everyone, really), lifting lovely thoughts and words hoping that they have found peace at last, and that we are there to help the family begin to heal by handling the estate for them.
On the flip side, we can also sense lives and homes that are buoyant, colorful, joyful, and productive. These homes are filled with light, usually lovers of animals and nature, and hobbies such as volunteering, bird watching, and gardening. In these homes, we usually just feel a stillness that has no heaviness to it. And in some cases, we start singing and are lighthearted while working in the estate. We don’t always understand why the environment affects us and our feelings.
Two completely different experiences, and everything you can imagine in between.
I believe there’s a way we can incorporate a conscious change into our lives and homes, so we can positively shift the energy we carry with us, for it remains long after we are gone, and deeply affects our loved ones left behind.
©2013 The Estate Lady®
Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com