Mitch Winehouse went to his late daughter’s house on Thursday to begin the sad task of going through her things and deciding what to do with them. As anyone who’s ever lost a close family member (or knows someone who has) knows, this can be emotionally difficult as well as daunting on a practical level. You don’t want to keep everything in a giant storage locker, but you don’t want to get rid of their things, either, because that’s all you physically have left of them.
Mr. Winehouse’s partial solution to this problem was to give some of Amy’s clothes and jewelry away to the mourning fans that had collected outside her house in London. “It’s what she’d have wanted,” he told The Sun. Judging from the pictures, fans were touched by the opportunity to own a little piece of their idol. He didn’t give away everything, though. The really special stuff like Amy’s journals, guitar, and, judging from the photo in the Sun article, those infamous ballet flats, will be kept by her family for now.
A photo of a fan smelling a celebrity’s clothes might be creepy if the celeb were still alive, but I think it takes on a sort of gravitas in this situation. I can tell you from personal experience that it can be comforting to keep a few items that you know your friend loved and used regularly, and even though her fans didn’t know her personally, she meant quite a lot to them. It’s also a way for Amy’s dad to bond with all the people who cared about her. Remember, most of the things we do after people die are really for ourselves and each other, because the dead person isn’t around to have things done for them anymore.
This photo of Amy’s ballet flats in her dad’s back pocket is especially heart-wrenching. Ugh.
Have you ever held onto a departed loved one’s possessions?