I understand now...

on 22 January 2014

From my adolescence onwards, my Grandma asked me what of her things I wanted.

It used to make me crazy.  I didn't really want any of her things. (And I took pride in my denial of material things.)  I wanted her stories, I wanted her to tell me about the places she'd been and the things she'd seen and everything she learned from those places and things.  But those were the things she wasn't readily willing to share.  And so for a long time we were at an impasse, she and I.

When I had the Boy, she sent me her rocking chair and I had grown up enough to accept it gratefully.  And every day, I would rock my Boy in that rocking chair.

And gradually over the last few years, her things have been creeping into my home.  Her knitting needles, one set at a time, pudding dishes and glass bowls, books, and cake pans.  So that now, there are bits and bobs of my Grandma in nearly every room of my small apartment.

Last night I was rocking my children in her rocking chair and thinking about my Grandma.  And that's when I think I understood for the very first time, why she was so eager to make sure that I would have something of hers.  Because our memories of people become tied to objects associated with them, because every time I rock my babies in her rocking chair I think of her.  Every time I knit my boy a pair of socks with her knitting needles, I think of her.  Because every time I see the bowls or the pans or the Thing, I think of my Grandma.

She died early this morning.  My Dad called me at dawn to tell me that she had moved on.

And while I still wish that she had told me her stories, I'm grateful for the things she gave me.  Because now there are memories of my Grandma in the most unpredictable places.  So that as I go about my day, I can remember her.

And maybe that's all she really wanted all along.