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Grief caused by an auction

Grief caused by an auction

Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2009 8:01 pm
By: By Don Harold Lawrence

The announcement in the newspaper read, “Public Auction.” The ad went on to note the time and place of the auction and also listed many of the items that would be sold.

However, for my wife, Emily, this was no ordinary auction because it involved the sale of many personal belongings of two deceased family members whom she had known and loved all her life.

Preparing for a public auction is no easy task. Words cannot describe how one feels as they struggle to decide what is to be kept and what is to be sold. Long hours and a lot of hard work were involved in deciding, sorting and boxing the items for this event.

Auction day finally came and I helped the family move boxes and items onto the lawn. We watched as box-after-box and item-after-item was auctioned off to the highest bidders. The memory of cars, trucks and vans leaving and carrying away separate pieces of an estate that once played a vital role in the lives of these deceased people will remain in my mind as long as I live.

Emily and I were sad because we were experiencing grief. As the various vehicles pulled away, we knew that this was the close of a long and important chapter in the lives of these two people whose personal belongings were being sold. Feelings of finality flooded our minds.

I was once again reminded that material things are symbolic reminders of people and their lives, homes, families, experiences, joys, heartaches, love and memories. No price tag can be put on such as this.

Never again will I read a public auction announcement without thinking about the fact that this kind of experience creates grief for many individuals and families.

A grief recovery program assists individuals and families in coping with these kinds of feelings and experiences.

Don Harold Lawrence is coordinator of SUNRISE, which is sponsored by Shackelford Corporation. He may be contacted by mail at 145 Abernathy Drive, Adamsville, TN 38310-3001 or by telephone or fax at (731) 632-4483. His Web address is

Published in The Messenger 4.2.09

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