As far as what your husband would have wanted, first and foremost he would want you to be taken care of. You have to care for your needs first, then you can think about mementos to give to family. I am sorry that you have this added stress. =(
I agree, absolutely hang tough with these people. Even nice, regular folks seem to go insane when they think they are going to get goodies for free. I also agree with others who have said you spouse would have wanted you to be taken care of first. If his family had any respect for you as his wife, they would be concerned first that you were OK, not that years ago somebody said something about you can have my guns under completely different circumstances.
I have not been subjected to anything like that but soon (way too soon) after my husband died a family member suggested another family member might want to buy all his tools. It was like, why not, nobody's using them. First off, I would have no way of knowing whether I was getting a fair price. Second, well guess what, I have been learning to do all kinds of things myself around the house, and learning to use those "useless" tools -- I even had to buy some replacements for a few I sold to local friends!. Don't be quick to give away or even sell anything in the early days (unless you need cash ASAP, then have at it); your mind is not right to make decisions yet. I guarantee if you are anything like I was in the early days you will do some stupid things, so wait awhile if you can.
Kattsqueen, So very sorry for your loss.. You do not have to tell anyone anything , that makes you feel uncomfortable. Too soon to make decisions or too little time for you to grieve. You are in control regardless of what anyone family or friends may think.. Everything is yours and nobody elses..Life is tough but sometimes the aftermath of life does present problems. Stand your ground, grieve and breathe.. No one matters but you right now, material things can wait.. I was never questioned nor was i asked anything about any of my wifes things by my 2 step daughters. Her sis within 2 weeks asked what was left for her. To which i and the girls said please let us grieve the loss first. Haven't heard from her again... I think death brings people out of woodwroks because of greed and selfishness. Grieve and breathe and let the fools be fools as they truly do not know what you go through... Best wishes and Blessings...
I'm so sorry for your loss. We all know how you feel and how bad it hurts, so please accept my love and sympathy.
Unfortunately, everybody here is right, what you're experiencing is extremely common, and cruel, at a time when you need the most kindness. My aunt stole things from my mother's house on the day of my mother's funeral, right during the funeral lunch. If it were up to me, even asking a bereaved person if you can have some of the deceased's things would be a crime, at least for a certain period of time after the death. So you're not alone in this, and you're perfectly right to want to protect yourself, no matter who these people are.
Some practical suggestions: you don't say if your husband left a will or how old you are. If you're not sure of the legal status of his property, try to find out. In my area there is free legal advice available to seniors in some of the local libraries. If you're not old enough for something like that yet, but are disabled and low- income you might still try there, or if there's a law school in your area, they often have clinics that will help, or at least answer a few questions. It always helps to defend yourself if you know for sure what your rights are.
Second, if you're having trouble fighting them off yourself, do you a friend or relative you can trust who can help you deal with them? Many women have trouble standing up for themselves, especially at a time like this when you feel so awful anyway, and it helps to have someone else on your side. And I hate to say this in 2016, but men will usually listen more to other men. Do you have a brother, a pastor, or maybe your husband's best friend? Men can still be very chivalrous when it comes to helping new widows, and a lot of them remember what the Bible says about widows and orphans. If there are no trustworthy men available, do you have a big, loud, mouthy friend who likes to tell people off? (God bless the mouthy broads of the world. They say the things we nice girls are afraid to.) Enlist all the help you can; you deserve it.
Whatever you decide to do, remember this: your husband loved you, and would want you to be taken care of, and to be as happy as it's possible for you to be in this difficult time. You have a right to put your needs first and take care of yourself. We're all pulling for you.
I would like to thank every one for taking the time to reply to my post. My computer blew up on me and now I am using one my son dug out ... it is an old one and doesn't work very well. I am struggling so hard to hang on here. Things are looking up if I can just hang in another month. My son has been living with me and it has put some extra strain on me financially as he is applying for disability and only can help some with his own needs. Food stamps help pay for his food. He is expecting an insurance card from the state that will help with his medical expenses. He will soon be able to reimburse me some of the expenses my hubby and I have covered in the last year as his former employer is allowing him to cash out some of his pension. This will give me a little buffer and he should have enough to help with some repairs needed here and New Locks all the way around! He will also have enough to help with the month to month expenses if his disability comes through in the next year or two. He will have an option to take out more in another year if needed. Right now we have no transportation and are dependent on the kindness of others to even get our groceries. We are four hundred miles away from my family as they are in Michigan. Only one of my hubby's family has helped me even a little but his methods are so strange. He offered to check my car out where it broke down. He had it towed to his home. He checked it out but can't help me get it fixed.. so now it sits at his house along with other property of ours he had borrowed. I do believe he will let me have it though. He wants to check one more thing out on it I guess, again thank you all so very kindly.
yup cfitz is spot on. take care of yourself first. I have, so far havent had any problems with my wife's family. Weirdly enough, I got a call about a week after my Nelle died from a 'friend' of hers who she hasnt spoken to in probably 5 years. This friend and her husband have always had big money problems, drugs etc. So the 'friend' calls and said "I gave Nelle a diamond necklace for her 50th birthday and she said if she died I could have it back." Boy was I pissed. I told her to come to the house and I would give it to her. Many items my wife labeled with sticky notes so I would know who got what. And sure enough she did indeed put hjer friends name on it, but still, I wanted to scream at her "my wife's not even cold yet you insensitive *&*^" but I kept my Irish temper in check...and it wasn't easy.
BTW she still hasnt called back or come to the house.
I e-mailed all family members to inform them I would make contact after the first year anniversary if there was anything to distribute w/out explanation. Fortunately, no one called or has called in 8 years.