before i went to oregon, i asked them to wait on going through my mother's things. i wanted to help sort through it all, touch what was hers, find my way in this new version of my life. i also wanted to make sure that i brought back the things i most wanted.
once there, however, i was extremely overwhelmed. not only by the emotion tangled with the task i'd set for myself, but by the sheer volume of things. my mother wasn't technically a hoarder, but she sure did have a lot. what's more, lot consisted of things i love: books, antiques, sewing & craft supplies.
at first i followed my brother around, looking through the things he'd set aside, or wanted to show me. soon though i wandered, on my own, into my mother's studio. i just stood there, staring at everything, thinking wow. how was i going to do this? how in the hell was i going to go through her things, choose what i wanted, then walk away from it all? from her? forever?
silent tears poured down my face, as i faced the over-stuffed sewing room. just as i was about to fall to pieces, i saw it. the tin. the one you see in the photo up there. her tin. i cannot recall a time in my life where that wasn't in her studio, filled with all sorts of interesting bits & bobs. i saw it & the world around me melted into silence; the kind you see in movies. i knew in that moment that i had to have the tin. i also knew i could do this.
in the days that followed we sorted through their home. my father, brother, sister-in-law & i went through my mother's belongings, looked at old photos, shared memories, laughed, & cried. it was harder than i could have ever imagined, but we did it. we began the long journey of saying good-bye.
in the end i chose to limit what i took for my own: some jewelry, photos, books, odds & ends, & that tin.
that's a photo of the tin's interior. my mother & i were very different people; quite often we did not get along because of this. what you see in that tin is a bit of what did connect us - the things that make a person swoon. in my family, i am now alone. there is nobody left who loves the things i love. who understands the pull of old things, the passion for creating, nor the driving need to write it all down.
in the days leading up to my mother's passing, i imagined all the things that would change. what i didn't realize was that everything changes. how i see things, what i think, who i am in the world! all of it changed the moment she took her last breath.
funny, isn't it? how much can be found
in a battered, old tin?