Friday, May 04, 2007

In the Box of Secret Memories

Not long after my father died, my mother's memory deteriorated, and Christine and I were unexpectedly faced with dealing with her things as we moved her into a higher level of assisted living.

It was sifting through the accumulation of a lifetime and what I wrote of it at the time was tearful. It was a difficult time, one we often said we would look back upon wondering how we got through it. And we do.

Christine was trying on a ring earlier that reminded me of one of the lighter moments of the experience. It was a possibly antique ring with a blue stone that was then nestled amid a box of costume jewelry.

When Christine discovered it, we knew it was not something for donation or estate sale because of its beauty, though it probably had no high value.

The discovery prompted Christine to look a little more carefully through the old necklaces and earrings.

Delving a little deeper she found a piece that intrigued her. It had some silver with a strong shine, but she turned it one way and then the other unable to figure out what it might be.

Finally she held it out toward me because I'd commented on memories of times and events at which some of the items had been worn.

"What is this?" she asked.

I looked at it for a second and flipped it over so she could see and understand that it was out of context.

"It's a dental partial," I explained.

And for a few moments of laughter the somber mood was lifted.


Charles Gramlich said...

I love this title, and the snippet. Sad, but even in the sad moments we do sometimes find an absurdity that makes us smile. It makes me wonder what my son will find someday going through my stuff.

Clifford said...

I know the feeling. My sister and I are still going through it -- the tearful times and the laughter. And then there are the surprises, the little things you discover you wished you would have talked about or shared, when you had the chance. My mom is in an Alzheimer's clinic. She lives in her own world now, a world of her own making, peopled by reflections in her mirror, ghosts of the past, and ghosts of joy and fear. Sometimes she let's me in her world just long enough to ask how I'm doing, how I'm getting along. And then she shuts me out again, and she is indifferent to the kisses and the hugs I force her to endure. Life is funny, my friend. Thanks for sharing this. Sometimes I need to be reminded that I'm not the only one going through it.

RK Sterling said...

Well, Sidney, you could always have the partial made into a pendant for her if it's that nice. ;)

My younger brother died two years ago, and barely had anything to go through. It was sad, but at the same time, made me realize I didn't want a lot of stuff for people to have to sort when I'm gone. It's bittersweet.

Sidney said...

Thanks for those thoughts, folks.

Cliff, I know what you mean about having her own world. My mom knows me but drops in and out of past years it seems.

Such things certainly make you think about your material good, Kate. I'm hoping someday down the road my nephews will have at least an interesting time going through my books and comics.

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