Thursday, October 4, 2012

Unusual Keepsakes From My Mom

My mother died three years ago after a lifetime of declining health, eventual hospice care, and a horrible final week. After she died, we had a pretty quick turn around on her house with people moving in and out. We went through the house like a whirlwind and honestly tossed most of the stuff. In hindsight, would I have liked to have taken more time to go through the house and hang on to more things? Perhaps. Although I’m not really a sentimental person. I’m not a keeper, I’m a thrower. And in the past three years there hasn’t been anything that I have thought of that I wish I had kept so I think it really all worked out. Plus, when you are living in the moment of grief and loss, who has the time and energy to really know if you are doing the right thing?

So when all was said and done, I walked away from my mom’s house with her photo albums and only one other small box that I had filled with childhood keepsakes and a few things I HAD to have. One of the items…a large spool of string.

This string lived in the cabinet above our stove with other random artifacts that were used infrequently. I’m pretty sure that my father took it home from work one day in the 70s. The string is old and a bit dirty but it is OUR string. It is the string that I remember my mother going to get out for any project we were doing, for hanging decorations around the house, and for any other thing that you could possibly use string for. I remember vividly tossing everything from that cabinet when cleaning out the house and not being able to throw the string away. To anyone else it is a gross spool of discolored thread. For me, it is a symbol of so many memories. I’m now using the string at my house with my family. I can only hope that someday when I’m dead and gone Isabelle will hang on to the string for the same reasons. Oh, and yes I have no doubt we will still have the string then. I mean how often do you even use string? And this spool appears to be never ending.

Another item that I had to keep…a bag of toothpicks. 

It would have been so easy to toss this bag during the clean out but I just couldn’t. This snowman bag lived in my mother’s hutch. Anytime we were baking she would send me or my brother in to go get out a toothpick to test to see if it was done. Like the string, these toothpicks seem to last forever. They are a reminder of days when my mother was in better health. Days where we cooked together and days where we laughed together. Today, Isabelle and I made muffins and I sent her to our hutch to get out the snowman bag (which doesn’t zipper anymore). We talked about Grammy and we sent a picture of the toothpicks to my brother. Days like today I’m so thankful that I didn’t throw the toothpicks away. They are priceless.


  1. I think those things are perfect to keep! Sounds like they are tied to so many nice memories!

  2. I love what you chose to keep. There are just certain things that can bring us back to a moment, a memory, in an instant that are worth hanging on to. I'm so sorry about what your mom and family must have endured.

  3. Such a beautiful post. I have a friend who saved a spool of thread from her mom's sewing kit (they are quilters). She uses it sparingly for special projects.

  4. Awww- your post totally made me think about what kinds of random things that my mom has laying around her house that I would want to keep. She has this UGLY ass ceramic grey & white cat that she's had since I was a kid. My brother broke it in half many years ago, so he's been glued back together and it's still the tackiest thing in her house, but it's one of those things that I would cherish because it's like part of the family.

  5. This might be my favorite post. It is those types of special memories we cherish after a loved one passes. My husband's grandmother passed away a couple years ago. She was so kind and welcoming toward me and is even more special to me than my own grandparents were. She had a small collection of fancy teacups and saucers that I loved to look at when we visited her.I wish I had been able to keep one. However, anytime I see a pretty teacup, I think of Fay and smile. Enjoy your toothpicks and string.

  6. Thanks for all your comments. It really just goes to show that it really can be the little things that matter the most!


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