Friday, March 4, 2016
the lesson of the shawl
When my mother recently died, my sisters and I had to sort through her things. It wasn't a conscious "ok now it's time to go through Mom's stuff" sort of a decision. There wasn't much to go through.
Years ago mother decided the best way to make it easy on us when the time came was to get rid of as much stuff as she could. She was moving into my sister Vicky's house and was downsizing anyway, so we had a big cleaning out for her, and divided up what meant to us then, sorting and passing stuff to our kids. Mom was happy it was taken care of.
That meant that when she died, all she had left was what was in the room she occupied at Vicky's. So there was no huge task of sorting things out. That had been done and dusted a few years before.
What the task of going through mom's things became for us was a trip down memory lane. Especially her jewelry. Mom didn't have expensive jewelry. She had never believed in spending a lot of money on it. So what she had was a collection of good and not so good costume jewelry. Some of it was so tarnished we couldn't tell what it was. But as we sorted through it, we talked about where the pieces came from, who had given it to her, and what she wore it for, if we could remember.
We laid things out on her single bed, walked away when it became an emotional overload, and then one by one over the week and a half I was there, I noticed we would drift quietly into the room, touch her things, and sort through our own memories. That was how I discovered the shawl.
It was under some things mom had crocheted, and as soon as I saw it I recognized it. It was made by my grandmother many years ago for my mom. Grandma had a special tool called a daisy maker, and she had made the daisies then crocheted them together.
I pulled the shawl from the drawer slowly and wrapped it around my shoulders. As I looked at myself in the mirror on mom's dresser, it seemed almost as though I was looking at mom. I closed my eyes and could almost feel her presence there with me, and I felt a calmness wrap itself around me like the shawl had.
The truth of life is that no matter what you do or say there is never enough time. Letting go of the anxiety and fear of my own mortality was the lesson I learned that day.
I miss you Mary, more than I ever thought I would.
i am @jonesbabie on twitter
Writing prompt for Friday Reflections:
Tell us about something you have in your home that has been handed down to you. Describe it, take a photo, and tell us the history and meaning of this item.