There were her clothes, slacks in every color, warm sweaters, decorated sweatshirts, comfy shoes, even her underwear. I sat on her bed surrounded by it all. She was no longer here to wear any of it, but here I was, looking at it, feeling sad and perplexed.
What would I do with it?
Well, first is her blue and green winter coat. My mother’s favorite colors were blue and green, and this coat was so her. Perhaps I could wear it? No, it’s just a little too big. Seventeen years later, it still hangs in my closet.
I found new homes for the shoes. That wasn’t difficult.
But other things? Oh my. I wore some of her sweaters for awhile. I couldn’t wear the slacks because they had had to be large enough to wear over her left-leg prosthesis. Still, giving them away tugged at me.
You might wonder about the underwear. I thought of just throwing it out. But she had worn it, her most intimate and pretty things. I’d heard that certain little consignment shops took things like this so I washed up all her bras, panties and slips one last time. They looked like snow they were so white, as if never worn. Some were brand-new.
I sat there on her bed with its blue and green quilted spread, tears falling down at the import of my decisions. I thought, what will my children do with my things when the time comes? Oh look, her jewelry.
She had the most beautiful jewelry, chunky necklaces and dangly earrings. With her short straight dark hair those earrings looked terrific. She always wore six silver bangle bracelets on her left wrist. I have those still, and some of her other pieces. Well, I should admit that I kept quite a bit of her jewelry. She had exquisite taste.
I looked around her apartment. Pots and pans, dishes, silverware, towels, linens, bedspreads, pictures, furniture, decorations. I felt overwhelmed.
Today her round glass-topped table and matching chairs, her couch, loveseat and ottoman, and one twin bed are in our home. Some of her art and all of her poetry are here as well. I have the green pitcher with the fluted edging, which fits beautifully into my living room. She loved it, and I love it. It’s as if we have wound our love of it together to keep it important. I have some of her silverware and serving pieces.
Other than that, I have her last calendar upon which she had decorated the squares for everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries. I have the little red sparkly heart which she used to wear on sweatshirts. I kept her black baseball-type cap with the gold sparkles. My granddaughter loved it so, so I gave it to her. My mom would approve.
So far I have named things. The best I have are the feelings of love and security she gave me, the sound of her voice that resounds in my memories, the help she gave me with tenderness all through her life, and the blessings of having been her daughter.
I still am.