As it gets closer to the anniversary of my Mother’s death, I am thinking more and more about how it felt, how much I still miss her, and what I still feel.
Initially, the pain and shock of when she died was terrible. She died 2-1-12. The first few weeks and months were the most difficult. There was the numbness, and the lack of acceptance. I still don’t really believe she is gone forever. I don’t know why. I still think to myself, I should tell this to Mother when I talk to her tonight on the phone. Then I snap back to reality.
My Dad wanted her things out of the house quickly; the pain of seeing them, and the constant reminder that she was no longer here was probably too much. One of the first things he gave me was her old jewelry box.
I didn’t even know that she still had that jewelry box, it was from the ’60s or ’70s. I remember it very clearly, I used to sit and talk to Mother while she finished dressing and put her jewelry on. All the jewelry she wore then came out of that box, and I also thought it was cool that for one pre-teen birthday, I got a jewelry box that looked almost like hers. I still have it, too.
Before she died, Mother had long since replaced that old jewelry box with far more extravagant pieces of furniture to store her more recent, prettier jewelry, but the old box still had things in it when Dad gave it to me. I could hear them rattling around inside. I was almost afraid to open the jewelry box, and when I finally did, I had mixed feelings. I wanted to cry over the sentimentality, and laugh over the funny, sweet things I found there. Of note was a pair of sparkly blue-green clip-on earrings that I used to love because they were so glittery. I picked one up and held it in my hand, running my thumb over the silky shiny faceted surface, remembering that there might have been a skirt that she used to like to wear because it matched the earrings. Or, was it the other way around? I don’t know, but I liked that those earrings were still in there.
Then there was the biggest surprise. On the top tray where the most important things once were was an object. I had to look closely at it to make sure I was seeing it correctly, but it turned out to be what I thought it was. It was a “pin” that I’d made for her in art class while I was in 5th or 6th grade. I’d completely forgotten that I’d made it, and that I’d given it to her, but there it was. It was blue and green, and had some gem-like things on it. It was made out of an oval-shaped coppery piece of metal, and I vaguely remember putting some kind of colored powder on it. Everyone in the class made one, each one was different, and then the teacher heated it some way to make the powder turn to an enamel-like surface. The color changed from pale to deep in the heating process.
It wasn’t the most beautiful thing in the world, but the pin was taking up valuable prime real-estate inside that jewelry box, and I could only believe that it must have been somewhat important to her if it was still around. I never even knew she kept it, and, as I said, I’d forgotten all about it. But there it was, and now it is in my own jewelry box.
Having many of Mother’s things surprisingly doesn’t make me feel bad. It makes me feel happy and close to her, like she’s a part of me. When I touch an object that was hers, I think I can feel how she felt. Sometimes thoughts pop into my head in her voice, and I know what she is thinking. I am channeling her, and I am pleased that she is with me in some way.
The pieces of her jewelry, while they may not be worth anything in money, are worth everything to me. I miss Mother so much.