Lasting gifts (and endless reminders)

Today marks 6 years ago that my grandma Janet died.  Tomorrow, would have been my mother-in-law, Diane’s birthday (she passed away January 24th).  As I played outside with my son today, the wind chimes that Diane gave me a few years ago chimed loudly.  As I look at my 5 1/2 year old son, I remember so clearly visiting my grandmother in the hospital, pregnant with Max, and hoping that she’d live to meet him.  She didn’t.  I have in my house the silk pillowcases that my grandma Janet loved so much and that I loved so much as a little girl.  I have the china cabinet in my house that helped to set-up and things from her own house that I’ve inherited – from jello slicers, to cheese boards, these items become the last gifts of someone you love and often the endless reminders that they aren’t around any more.

It’s interesting though, upon receiving the wind chimes, I didn’t realize that a few years later they’d serve as a lasting reminder of the loss of my mother-in-law.  I have pictures of my daughter with my Grandma – but not as many as I’d like.  I never realized that those pictures we took were going to be some of the last healthy ones we had.  Same with my mother-in-law.  She was always wanting pictures with my kids, but they weren’t always so obliging.  Now…I don’t have as many as I’d like of them with her alone.  I didn’t realize that each healthy opportunity might have been the last.

A picture, a dish, a wind chime, a piece of jewelry.  Upon receiving them, you might not realize how much they represent the person who gave them to you.  And yet, when that person is no longer alive, they take on a new meaning and become a constant reminder of the emptiness and somehow at the same time, a happy reminder of a gift that was given with love from a person you loved.

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8 Comments

  1. Cindy King said,

    March 3, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I, too, have some cherished mementos of loved ones no longer with us. You’re right, we never know what objects are going to some day become more meaningful. And interesting to think of what items of mine might be meaningful in someone else’s possession some day.

  2. Ellynn said,

    March 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Beautifully written about two amazing women.

  3. Linda Baie said,

    March 3, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    You are right, they are rather a bittersweet thing to have, giving both joy and sorrow. But I wouldn’t want to not have them, so relish them instead. I do hear your sentiment though & guess we must be ever mindful of doing good things today, not waiting for next time. Thank you for your reminders of mixed blessings and taking time now!

  4. mardie said,

    March 3, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    I am grieving the death of my father still, as he passed away just a few weeks ago, and I know exactly what you mean about the pictures. We have many of him, so I’m lucky, but I never realized how much they’d mean to me until now.
    Thanks for a lovely blogpost; one that rings so true.

    • Jodi Mahoney said,

      March 4, 2012 at 1:52 am

      thanks for reading and thanks for sharing with me. it is hard. Things that you didn’t notice before suddenly jump out at you.
      Best wishes for putting one foot in front of another each day.

  5. caroline524 said,

    March 4, 2012 at 3:25 am

    This month marks the birthday of my grandmother who passed away several years ago and I always pay tribute to her on her day by playing a music box that she once owned. Whenever I play it, I can remember her humming the tune and dancing with grandpa before their 50th anniversary celebration.

  6. March 7, 2012 at 6:33 am

    How blessed you are! Not to have so many things that remind you of the special people in your life, but to have those memories, and to have been loved by those folks. Your writing is a vivid description of what they all mean to you.


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