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Sharing the Journey from Bereaved to Shining Light Parent
The WIsdom of Greg - Don't Worry About My Stuff!

The WIsdom of Greg - Don't Worry About My Stuff!

  • Posted
    • Jun
    • 6
    • 2023
by Elizabeth Boisson
Bill is just an ordinary guy who has had extraordinary things happen to him since the passing of his son Greg. Susan writes it all down. The Calgary, Canada affiliate leaders are on an amazing journey with their son. 
Dealing with the treasured belongings left behind by our child in spirit can be one of the most painful journeys we take as Shining Light Parents. The floods of memories attached to their things is very often heart-wrenching because they're tangible links to our children who are no longer here in the physical.
Very soon after his passing almost nine years ago at the age of 27 from the effects of drug abuse, our son Greg communicated to his Dad a simple statement that became a mantra to help us navigate the difficult process: "Don't worry about my stuff." 
Greg had passed in his bedroom in a sober house on the other side of the city where we live, and we told the house manager that we would pick up some of his belongings and then return a few days later to take the rest. Greg did not own a lot of stuff, mostly clothing and a few pieces of furniture, but despite his struggles with addiction he had managed to hang on to some treasured items and mementos, and most of them were contained in that sober house bedroom.
The day after Greg's passing, a victim assistance volunteer with the city police came to our house and gave Bill and I each a small rock with an inspirational word etched onto them. Bill's said 'Believe'. Mine said 'Strength', and I brought it with me as it took all of my strength and courage to enter the house and the bedroom where my son had passed two days before. I was determined to retrieve some of Greg's stuff, and when I felt I was going to crumble, I put my hand in my jacket pocket and touched that rock.
We were able to quickly grab a few items from his bedroom, and knowing that we would return in the next few days to gather up the rest of Greg's belongings when we felt stronger, we left. Unfortunately, we weren't told that Greg's room was needed for another resident, and his belongings were put into garbage bags and cleared out of the room. We believe a few of those bags ended up in the garbage by mistake because some of Greg's things were missing. We packed into boxes and moved what was left of Greg's things into a spare bedroom. 
I was upset, of course, but trying to hold it together, and I clung to the belief that they were just Greg's "things". Bill, however, was hit very hard. When Greg showed up to his Dad in our bedroom six days after he passed, very early into Bill's realization that his son was communicating with him from the other side, Greg knew he had to reassure his Dad not to worry about his missing belongings. Bill woke up early that morning and saw Greg's colors in our darkened bedroom, the green and purple glow that let his Dad know he was there. In his head, Bill heard his son say, "I'm sorry," and then Bill started to worry about the whereabouts of Greg's belongings and how that had been mishandled, and Greg said to him, "Don't worry about my stuff." 
Greg has told us from the other side that the highest form of love is to love yourself, so if you don't want to let go of your child's things because you can't bear it at this point in your journey, don't. When you're willing and able to let some of it go, you will. Some parents have to move or downsize and must make difficult decisions about their child's belongings much sooner than they want to, but always know that your child in spirit is right beside you and supporting you. Talk to them while you go through this process, because they hear you and know how difficult it is.
It took us a few years to even contemplate opening up the boxes and the dresser drawers to go through Greg's stuff. We came around to the belief that Greg would want others to find joy and get some use out of his things, so we gave away some of his belongings, including a rocking recliner that is now used in the baby's room in the home of one of his best friends. We know Greg loves that.
We've kept several of Greg's belongings that have special meaning to us, things that bring us comfort. On that initial trip to the sober house after his passing, I'm so grateful I grabbed his high school football jacket with his number 77 on it. Not surprisingly in the years that followed, the number 77 showed up for us a lot, and still does. Every now and then I'll go into the spare bedroom closet where the jacket hangs and touch it and give it a good, deep smell.  
I struggled with whether I could part with Greg's rollerblades. Greg loved to rollerblade in a large park near our home, so I asked Bill to ask him if it was okay. Before I could even finish asking the question, Bill laughed, because he immediately saw in his mind's eye our son striding along on rollerblades and he heard Greg say, "I have a new pair!" I asked whether Greg is rollerblading in the park, and Bill heard him say, "No, in space!" 
That's our son, gliding through the cosmos, and reminding his parents not to worry about his stuff because he can manifest on the other side what he loved doing here.
~Susan, Bill and Greg Van Oije
If you would like to hear more about our amazing experiences, click here to watch the video Bill made for the HPH YouTube channel.

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