That’s what one of my coworkers told me when I told him I was having issues getting an item back of my brother’s from one of his friends. And it’s true. Don’t assume you can keep something without asking the family. You don’t know the sentimental value they could have attached to an item. Unless the person who passed bought the item for their friend, gave it to their friend as a gift, or it was just something they bought for themselves it probably won’t be that big of an issue. At least not for me it isn’t. I have no attachment to things my brother bought for himself or for his friends. I didn’t give any of that to him.

But what I wanted back was the last gift I gave him for our last Christmas together. Although I technically gave him something for his birthday a few months before he passed it was a gift certificate for a tattoo he had planned. Gift certificates need to be returned to the shop so I obviously can’t get that back.

The two last things for Christmas that I wanted back were a picture and a sweatshirt. The picture was of something his friend and tattoo artist had drawn and he loved it. It was the only picture he took with him from his room (might have been another one actually). The sweatshirt had one of his favorite cartoon shows on it. He had always loved them and over the years I had given him a lot of shirts with those characters. But not long into the new year he came over with a huge grin on his face saying how many people had complimented the sweatshirt and he said he had no idea where his sister had gotten such a sweet sweatshirt.

Mom had asked when they returned his things from his apartment to include everything, clothing included. Our aunt had said not long after he passed that she would take his shirts and make them into a quilt which meant we did need most of his shirts back. So when this stuff returned last month to our parents house one of his friends had said “I still have several of his shirts at my house. Just let me know if you want them.”

I didn’t think much of it. It was an emotional day. I was handed the picture and set it up on my wall in my room. I finally decided to go looking for the sweatshirt two weeks later and couldn’t find it. Then I remembered what his friend had said and I contacted them about getting it back.

I was told no, it was the only thing they had left to remember him.

I offered to trade with something else of his. No reply so I made an offer again. No reply. His friend decided to ignore me for the good part of a day or two. What really made me mad at this point is that they said they had 1) several things of his at their house but now it was just this sweatshirt and 2) they had offered to give it back if it was requested back and it was now a no.

I did not handle the situation right, I will admit that (won’t go into much more details) but in the end I got the sweatshirt back. And surprise! With the sweatshirt a few shirts were returned. It was tossed at me with my mother pleading for them to keep the shirts but she was ignored while they peeled out of the parking lot we had met his friend at.

This seems to have turned into a rant. But I had attempted to trade something else to give to this friend so they could have something to remember my brother with. When the story keeps changing it is very aggravating, especially when it’s such a sore subject. If my mother or father had wanted that sweatshirt back would it still be a no? Or would it have been a “of course, I’ll bring it over ASAP”? Does me being his sister not mean as much as being his parent?

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