As my mother lay dying, one of her last messages to me was, “Don’t give away my pretty things.” She was in an extreme condition that did not allow me to explore this topic further. I assured her I would treasure her pretty things. A certain heavy burden for me was to evaluate her possessions and determine what was “pretty,” or rather, what she considered “pretty”—silver, dishes, jewelry, furniture, clothes. I enlisted the help of family members in cleaning out houses. I must confess that pretty things did get “given away,” but all within the family. I believe she would be pleased with the disposition of most of it.
We think of her each Easter when we enjoy the delicate egg tree on the dining room table and at Christmas as we hang the exquisite ornaments. I feel her close when I wear her gold and diamond necklace. I recall her just-so hair do, her immaculate dress, her beautiful smile, her support and encouragement. I have her velvet lined jewelry box upstairs, the scent of her signature Estee Lauder perfume still lingering inside. Whenever I need to ask her something, I open that heavy wooden lid and breathe in my mother and hear her say, “Just use your good sense. You’ll know what to do.” When my mother died, a friend of mine said to me, “Your mother was your greatest cheerleader.” It’s a bit sad to realize that what I have left of her is a wooden box to cheer me on.
What a beautiful story, Beth. Thank you for sharing it with us. I totally understand what you mean by being sad that all you have left is the box. Yet at the same time, what a wonderful gift that box is. I feel the same way about a pair of my mother’s gloves. When I am in need of her advice, there are times when I put her gloves on and feel her surround me. It is from the simple everyday things that most take for granted and do not give a second thought to, that we can derive much comfort. May you keep getting your advice and comfort from your wooden box and a smile when you open it up.
Dottye Law Currin said:
I like that your mother is just upstairs on the ready with sage advice. The connection is priceless. And you continue to follow her advice to “just use your good sense” because, as most of us who know and love you would say, that is definitely one of your strongest attributes: good sense.
Carol Henderson said:
How fabulous to be able to open the heavy wooden box lid and feel your mother’s faith in you. And to be reminded of her charm and grace by the hint of perfume still embedded in the velvet lining. It’s like a fairy tale with a happy ending. No wonder you’re so successful and beautiful, Beth.
Beth Baldwin said:
Inspired by Peggy’s “Shrink in a Box” !!