32 answers

Would You Feel Guilty?

My aunt passed away in June from complications that arose after a bone marrow transplant. She was a photographer (She is the one who inspired me to follow my own photography dreams). She had a couple of backdrops, a backdrop stand, and a couple different props that are now sitting in her basement. Her husband will never use them, and her daughter just turned 11 so it would be a long time before her daughter would even consider using them. My grandma and my uncle are in the process of going through all of my aunt's old things and getting rid of them/giving them to family members that want the items.

I don't have any backdrops of my own (I was planning on buying one tonight). I do not have a stand to hold my backdrops up. I just bought a couple of props last night, but could always use more.

My uncle has already given me a few different photography books, and he knows that I'm working toward my goal of becoming a photographer. My grandma said that she was going to ask my uncle about these items tonight. I feel kind of guilty about it though. I'm not sure why.

If you were in my position, would you feel guilty asking your uncle if you could have these items?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Just To Ad - These items are not "valuable".

And yes, they have sentimental value to me. She took my son's 6 month photos with this equipment and I would truly feel honored to continue to use it.

Featured Answers

My thought is that she would be honored to have inspired you and to have you use her stuff. Maybe offer to take annual pics of her daughter and that you would love the opportunity to mentor her as her mother did you.

5 moms found this helpful

Oh my , go right ahead...what an honor that you would want them and use them. Please. Call now.

I've had 4 aunts/uncles die this year and they wanted their items to go to family who would truly use them.

Call. Right now. Not guilt over this one please. You are cherishing her life.
GL!

5 moms found this helpful

No, it seems such a waste to let them sit in someone's basement, not being used. Don't feel guilty about it at all!

3 moms found this helpful

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My thought is that she would be honored to have inspired you and to have you use her stuff. Maybe offer to take annual pics of her daughter and that you would love the opportunity to mentor her as her mother did you.

5 moms found this helpful

Oh my , go right ahead...what an honor that you would want them and use them. Please. Call now.

I've had 4 aunts/uncles die this year and they wanted their items to go to family who would truly use them.

Call. Right now. Not guilt over this one please. You are cherishing her life.
GL!

5 moms found this helpful

I would not feel guilty at all, but if you do and to alleviate it, perhaps you can invite your 11yo cousin over to learn the ropes of photography if she's interested. Maybe use the money you would have spent on a backdrop to get her an inexpensive camera and you can go on photo walks together? If not that, maybe monthly lunches or something to keep a maternal presence in her life.

4 moms found this helpful

I know without a doubt that your aunt WANTS you to have those items.

Please call your uncle and ask if you may have them. Express your wish to honor your aunt's memory in their use...she's the one who inspired you!

4 moms found this helpful

Do not feel guilty. If you will continue to use them, they will be an ongoing legacy. If you had some relationship with her at all, I think you could ask nicely and it wouldn't be a problem. If I were the uncle, I'd rather someone have them that could use them.

ADD: If you have a website (didn't see one on your profile) for your business, you could even have a tribute sentence or two recognizing her as the inspiration for you following your photography dreams.

And perhaps invite your niece to be your apprentice if she has any interest. It's a REAL profession, so her having experience, especially if she is interested, would be HUGE. Teaching her about entrepreneurship, etc., would be one HECK of a legacy to her mom.

4 moms found this helpful

No, it seems such a waste to let them sit in someone's basement, not being used. Don't feel guilty about it at all!

3 moms found this helpful

You should absolutely NOT feel guilty. How wonderful that you can possibly use the same equipment as the woman who inspired you. Your aunt would be happy they're being put to good use. Are they valuable? Could your uncle sell them and make a bit of money? If that's the case, you might offer to buy them from him. But if the equipment is just "junk" that will take up space in a garage or attic, I can't imagine why he wouldn't want you to have them.

3 moms found this helpful

It can't hurt to ask. I would ask if he minded, then would make sure to tell him that you'll take good care of the things in case their daughter would like them when she's older.

3 moms found this helpful

No-I would graciously accept them, take very good care of them, view them as a tribute to my Auntie's accomplishments and always treasure them. She would be so happy, I'm sure, that she could help you in your dream.

3 moms found this helpful

No. In addition to the fact you are family and they are cleaning things out, there are some serious sentimental ties to these items for you (it sounds like it to me, anyways).

3 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't feel guilty. You would probably be doing him a favour. After the death of a loved one it is emotionally difficult to "get rid" of their belongings. It really makes it easier when you know these things are going to someone who will use them and and care for them.

2 moms found this helpful

I think if you phrase it right, it would be appreciated a lot. Say what you said here, that she inspired you in many ways and you hope to be the type of photographer she was. (Maybe you have different specialties, but you can say you want to be as dedicated or as artistic or as talented as she.) Say that it would be an honor to utilize her things and to care for them, if that would be helpful to the family in finding a good home for her equipment. Also volunteer to help them clean out other things and find good homes for them - that can be such a daunting task for families after someone has died. Clothing is a big one - hard for the surviving spouse to go through their beloved's things and dispose of them. But hopefully you live nearby and can handle the task of packing things up and carting them away - do not expect your uncle to pack and ship on your behalf.

Also, can you do something for this 11 year old daughter, acting as a "big sister" to her and a mentor? This child is entering adolescence, a confusing time anyway, with no mother to guide her. Can you step up to help? That will make it clear that you are a devoted family member and not just someone looking to get some free stuff. Sometimes families are overwhelmed with people wanting to take stuff, and sometimes they are overwhelmed with vague offers of "can I do anything to help?" - they aren't organized enough and it's a chore to accept help. So see what you can do. Maybe taking the daughter for a day trip - lunch and a photography museum that her mother once enjoyed? Maybe just a movie and a manicure? She's going to need a lot over the years to come.

2 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't feel guilty making a request. You wouldn't be demanding them, only requesting them, and her family has the right to say no. If they don't want you to have them then you say, "Thank you for the consideration. Here, I brought some ____ , which I know was one of Auntie Mary's favorite recipes. I thought we could have some and reminisce for a while if you're up to it."

2 moms found this helpful

I don't see why you should feel guilty. If he says no move on but he may not have even thought about you needing those or wanting them. I know when we lost my dad we wanted his stuff to go to someone that would use it.

sorry for your loss!!

2 moms found this helpful

No. I'm sure your aunt would be pleased that someone is continuing on her love of photography. Don't feel guilty.

2 moms found this helpful

No, but if you do, ask to borrow them until or IF his daughter would like to have them.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think you should feel guilty.

1 mom found this helpful

Nope, seems perfectly reasonable to me. Ask away.

1 mom found this helpful

I wouldn't feel guilty, but I can understand the issue. You don't want it to seem like you are excited to cash on in the tragedy. I don't think anyone will take it that way,

1 mom found this helpful

I would not. I would tell him that you understand that they have value to him as they were hers, but I think if you describe how you would be honored to use her equipment to pursue your goal, I suspect he will give them to you. It can be weird to have a person's things after they are gone, but it can also be healing to know that the item went where it was appreciated. I would take your feeling guilty not about material things but immaterial ones.

1 mom found this helpful

Heck no. He probably would be relieved to have it go to you.

One of my best friends died earlier this year. Her husband told all of us, to just ask for anything we might want and he would be honest about if he wanted to keep it or not.

I am going to be borrowing a vase this week for an event. I do not want it forever, just to borrow it. I know it was one of her favorites so I want him to keep it. He has a ton f stuff he wants me to go through, he has no use for it. Very soon it will have been a year since her death, and I know, he will be ready to get rid of more.

Every few months he mentions more items, he has come across.

1 mom found this helpful

Don't feel guilty! Your aunt would have wanted her belongings to go to someone who would use them and appreciate them as much as she did. I'm sure she would not want them to end up in the trash or at a thrift store. Ask for them, use them and remember her fondly everytime you use them. You will feel her love when you do!

1 mom found this helpful

Go for it! It's a hobby you & she have in common. She's clearly not going to be using them anymore so why shouldn't you at least ask? Worst that will happen is him say no. But certainly don't feel guilty. Especially if they're going through the stuff now anyway to give it a new loving home. Be the loving home! LOL!

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think you should feel guilty at all. The items will go to good use by a loved family member.

No, but you may want to phrase it as "may I borrow..." indicating that if their daughter would like them back at some point she is welcome to take them. After my grandmother passed away, many of her serving pieces and other entertaining items were unused by my grandfather. If I needed something, I asked to borrow the item. In most cases, he would say "just keep it if if you will use it" and that was that. In some cases, he didn't and it was returned.

Just a suggestion, but no need to feel guilty.

I felt the same way asking my FIL if I could gift a friend who just got a job in an office some of my MIL's suits and nice clothes. They just could not afford them. He said yes but it was hard on him to see the woman take out her things.

I think it feels like you are ready to move on without them and want to forget them. We know that's not true in any way but it feels disrespectful in our heart to finally take that stand and recognize they are not going to be using them anymore.

I wouldn't feel guilty. I think that your loved one would appreciate you using your gift of photography and her helping you with the backdrops, even better. No guilt. Let them ask....

I would not feel guilty at all about it. Although if your concerned about it ask if you can buy them from them. chances are they will just give them to you.

You may have guilty feelings because if you get some of these items, you might feel you're profiting by your aunt's death.

While that's understandable, please understand also that when you die you can't take the stuff with you! Wouldn't you like your things to go to someone (presumably, someone you love) who will enjoy them and use them? But you have to be brave and ask. The worst your uncle might say would be no, and even then you don't really lose anything. You just save up your money and buy your own.

No guilt at all. Ask.

Well if your uncle knows you are truly serious about photography and too, it was your aunt who was your inspiration, then what better way to honor your then by making proper and good use of her equipment.. Also, it's one thing to have your grandma ask for the items, but coming from you, might mean even more.. let him know how much your aunt meant to you and how you'd love to keep her memory and legacy alive by using her equipment..
Would I feel guilty? Umm, not guilty if your heart and intentions are in the right place. it's not like you are asking for a ton of money. Also, does he need the money, would he otherwise sell the items?
If not, then no, I wouldn't feel guilty.. But if he does give you the items, then one of your first projects with the new equipment might be a photo of something your aunt really loved.. flowers, animals, etc etc...

good luck

No, I wouldn't.

It never hurts to ask, right?

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