I recently paid a visit to my childhood home after my father broke the news that he is planning on selling it. The visit was the first of what will be many trips back and forth, removing treasured items that belonged to my mother and have been sitting there, untouched, for the past nearly thirteen years since her death.
Just typing that sentence makes me miss her so much I can hardly breathe…
I’ll be quite honest and tell you that I’ve hardly set foot in that house since she died. In the time after her death, it was just too painful. Every room, every wall was a memory and a painful reminder that she was gone. I was 23 years old and didn’t want to be reminded that I was motherless, that my mom wouldn’t be at my wedding or see my children be born or get to be a grandmother.
So fast forward thirteen years.
I’m 36 and it still took every ounce of courage I have to walk in that house and gather her things and remember…
And I find, as I look at each heirloom, that I’m suddenly trying to remember more… like the stories she used to tell us about her grandparents, whose well-loved silverware and china was passed on to her.
Didn’t they own a store? Isn’t that what she told me?
They had two children, but I think they also adopted two who later separated from the family… right?
If only the silverware and the china and the glassware could fill in the rest of the story…
As I was unpacking these items and washing them, ever so carefully, my oldest daughter came up and grabbed a punch glass and admired it, asking “Wow! Was this fancy stuff your mom’s?!”. After a brief panic (Don’t drop it!), I laughed and said no and began to tell her the story (what I remember) of my great-grandparents.
I imagine that, as I make more trips and bring home more treasures that more stories will be told to my daughters. I’ll be sure to include all the extra details that they won’t want to know now, but that they will want to know someday, and I’ll be sure to tell them everything I can about my mother so they feel like they knew her.
I’ll remember her.
I’ll miss her.
I’ll tell her story, so that they may someday tell it too.
And I’ll remember to soak up the memories from my own story along the way…