Stuff and Nonsense: Thoughts of Mom: More Things


Thoughts of Mom: More Things

Saturday, I went down to Dad's and we spent some more time going through Mom's things. While we've dispersed a tremendous amount of Mom's things to various local charities and institutions, much of her crafting stuff remains. Mom quilted and cross-stitched, tole painted and stenciled, and occasionally crocheted. In addition to her sewing room being full of quilting stuff, there was a second floor bookcase full of binders of quilting newsletters and patterns and a storage bench full of, well, everything that is crafty. Yarn. Embroidery floss. Embroidery hoops. Felt. Canvas. Beads. Crochet Hooks. Knitting needles. Christmas-y fabric prints. Snaps. Buttons. Knit elastic. Bias tape. Theorem stencils. And dozens of dress patterns.

We didn't know what lay in the chest until we opened it and, while was an unruly mess of crafty stuff, everything we pulled out triggered a memory. That chest alone took most of the afternoon and we didn't even succeed in emptying it out. We removed anything Dad didn't want or I didn't think I could find a new home for (at the senior center's knitting group, etc), but left everything that seemed too significant to deal with. We'll go back in a month or two, with fresh eyes and fortified hearts, to find that much we left can also go on and, hopefully, will have some idea of what to do with what we want to keep.

If I could, I would keep so much more of my mother's things, but I know she wouldn't have wanted me to create a shrine to her out of her things so I've tried to keep only the things that spark deeply felt, warm memories. Her jewelry, a few of her quilted table runners, her best (gas station) china, Christmas ornaments she crafted when I was small. I see these things, experience the weight and texture of them, and I remember so many things I thought I had forgotten. In some very real ways, my mother feels more present in my life, not less.

And it's okay. This is the first week since Mom died that I felt like myself and not some kind of shadow self. The grief and pain of her loss has dulled from a knife sharp stab of shock and surprise into a constant dull ache. My father calls it the new normal and I guess that's right. Mom's being dead is a normal thing now -- we've gotten used to the idea, accepted it, made it a simple fact of life.