This has caused some consternation for me and my brother, and we're becoming resigned to the fact we eventually will have to take on the burden of emptying the house ourselves.
I follow a blog called "Things I Find in the Garbage" by a man who styles himself a "professional scavenger". He makes a fairly good living by selling items that people are throwing away. In a recent entry he asked why so many good people throw out nice things. One comment on the blog answered:
"It occurred to me that perhaps, despite choosing to move, [grandmother] simply didn't want to dismantle what had been her home for the last 30 years, the home she had lived in with my grandfather and that she had carefully filled with art, memorabilia, and decor she loved. That it may actually have seemed the better option to simply walk away from it intact, her memories of it unsullied by any mental images of its piecemeal destruction, strangers walking through and carelessly manhandling gifts from loved ones, having to deal with the guilt and sadness of getting rid of useful things, gifts, sentimental memorabilia, while not being able to ignore the fact that she's too aged to keep it, maintain it, and that most of the adventure of life that resulted in the gathering of the things is over and done."
I think that's what my father is going through right now. He doesn't want to divest a lifetime's worth of connections to his beloved late wife even though he supposedly has moved on. He even became quite upset when my brother and I came to begin cataloguing the furniture in the house.
So I think the best thing to do right now is for us to visit the house as often as possible to show that we do have a handle on the situation and that the precious family memorabilia is being taken care of.