When should you dispose of a departed loved one’s clothing?

Kenneth McKenzie
Columnist

We each have a unique scent about us that somehow gets trapped within our clothing: your grandmother’s lilac perfume and fresh-baked persimmon cookies; a carpenter’s freshly carved wood; a florist’s flowers; and a mortician…well, let’s not go there.
After a death, families often ask me, “When is the right time to get rid of ‘his’ or ‘her’ clothing?” There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Some dispose of a loved one’s clothing quickly, while others cannot even deal with the sight of the person’s clothing within a closet. There is no right or wrong time to complete this task.
I can only suggest two things to you:
First, complete this final step yourself, when you are ready. It hurts, but it will help with closure for you. You may get advice from family and friends on what you should do, but we are each unique and each deal with loss in different ways and timing.
Second, place a favorite shirt or coat in a plastic bag, and tuck it away out of sight. Within a few years, you will come across that special item, and, when you open the bag, the unique scent that was so special to you will put a bright smile on your face. I promise.

Kenneth McKenzie is owner of McKenzie Mortuary in Long Beach.

It's a Matter of Life

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