Friday, March 02, 2007
the beauty of the journey
I recently had the curious opportunity to go through my Grandmother’s belongings after her death a few weeks ago. It was something my mother had been dreading, so I wanted to be there for her. I grew up far away from my Grandparents (they were in Los Angeles, we were in Iowa) so their home lived mainly in my memory. To walk through it the first time after her passing was so strange, to know that those memories and parts of their home could now live on in mine...
My mother showed me some things she thought I would find of interest: my Grandma’s amazing collection of jewelry, a drawer of vintage gloves, a closet full of fragile silk scarves, a cedar chest with journals, dolls and linens that belonged to my Great-Grandmother. The more excited we got, the more wrong it seemed. My Grandma was dead, shouldn’t we be mourning?
But mourning almost seemed selfish as well. My Grandma was 86, she’d had a long life full of family and love. Her husband of over half a decade had been dead for 14 years and she missed him. She’d had a stroke and was getting frail. She was ready to go, so when she quit eating and started to fade away we all knew it was okay. We were lucky to have so much time with her, and so blessed to have the opportunity to let her know how much we loved her.
My Grandparents loved beautiful things, just as I do, and collected them with a vengeance. Going through their belongings, I considered how happy it made me to know that my loved ones would someday be doing the same thing with all of the things that brought me joy. I am so privileged to be a part of the long line of those who appreciate beauty. I feel like the broken, tarnished lattice-work bracelet was saved just for me. The dried-out watercolor tin, the dusty dishcloths, the half-filled ledger were all waiting for me to love them. My Grandparents would be so happy to know that their beloved treasures are still cherished, and I’m so lucky to have such wonderful memories in my home and in my heart.