The Estate Medium

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.  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation.

7 thoughts on “The Estate Medium

  1. Julie – another great post! I have had the exact same experiences and sometimes it is also like a puzzle to me to figure out what the person did for a living, such as in my current one, it is not completely clear, but I have an idea, but I also see evidence of why he died (family told us cause of death, younger man). It can be very eerie at times and as you said, many times there is so much joy in the home, you can just sense it….fascinating job we have!

  2. Julie Once again a helpful article. In 17 years we have helped over 2500 people with moves or estates. I too feel sadness, despair, joy, futility and do pray for the families that lived there and the people who will be living there. 

      Judy Robinson   owner of senior moves serving eastern Ontario since 1996 author of “the Best of the Rest Downsizing for Boomers and Seniors” (613) 832 0053


  3. Dear Julie,
    This is a very profound post, thank you for letting us “inside” your heart and head, a little bit. I have always been hesitant to share the “feelings” I get when inside someone’s home, and you are absolutely right…some are very heavy and oppressive or sad and some are light and friendly and uplifting.

    I am a residential organizer, helping people organize and pack to move house. Thank you for your words and for sharing your experience of honoring what you are feeling as you do your work.

    Melissa C Williams
    The Moving Diva
    Boise, Idaho

  4. I am a former funeral director who has made many house-calls…some were okay, natural type deaths…but many were scenes of abandonment, loneliness, solitary confinement in a house with no one at all coming in or out of their lives. Some took out a pistol and ended their existence. Some turned on the car in a garage, some took too many pills, some steered their car into an oncoming vehicle at high speed. I have cried for many, many calls. I may never have met those people, but I was overwhelmed by the sadness of someone who had no more hope for a better day.

    1. Thank you for sharing this. It is good to know that there are others out there that are keenly aware of this, their pain and then our pain. Looking on the bright side, we have a purpose in these difficult situations, and that is to perform our chosen vocations and all that comes with it with dignity, compassion, ethics and understanding. While we’ll never “get it” or have all the answers, maybe it’s enough to know we are doing our best to take the decedent and their loved ones to a place of closure. ~Julie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *