From Clutter to Compassion: Remembering Katheryn

BERESFORD, S.D. – In her 79 years, Katheryn was always a keeper. She kept everything she and her family ever owned packed wall-to-wall her in home.

“It was just incredible,” said her daughter, Audrey Erickson. “I have a lot of guilt for that because I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten.”

Suddenly, Katheryn was gone, but her overwhelming amount of stuff wasn’t.

“One day she was here and the next day she wasn’t,” said Erickson.

Her daughter Audrey was left with the overwhelming task of sorting through and getting rid of all of her mother’s belongings. Her two younger brothers live in Alaska, so she was on her own.

“The toys and the games I mean,” said Erickson. “Every time you see something you’re flooded with – it’s like stepping back into time.”

Audrey didn’t know where to turn, but that’s where Lisa Soma enters our story.

“70 percent of my job is listening,” said Soma. “It’s not even doing something with my hands or organizing something. It’s listening to people and the issues.”

Lisa is a professional organizer. She helped Audrey de-clutter.

“Stuff is very emotional for a lot of people,” said Soma. “It was amazing to me how much feeling, how deep their heart went.”

”I was grieving that whole time because every time I went to that house, that familiar smells,” said Erickson.

Audrey learned that she too had a difficult time getting rid of things, just like her mother did, that is until Lisa taught Audrey that those sentimental items could be paid forward.

“It can be useful and purposeful again to someone else,” said Soma. “That item can live a new life.”

“That gives me a good feeling right there when you donate something,” said Erickson.

With the help of Lisa, Audrey was able to sort through each and every item of her mother’s.

“That’s when I felt like I had completed the majority of my grieving if that makes sense,” said Erickson. “I just, I felt lighter.”

However, Lisa says it’s okay to hold on to a handful of sentimental items.

“My mother had a collection of angels,” said Erickson. “That’s what means the most to me is her angel collection.”

Now, Audrey has a guardian angel, too.

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