my grandmother died this past summer. and now this weekend i’m going through boxes and bags of things passed on to me. it’s really hitting me in a tender place to see all these possessions that have outlasted a life and in some cases, several lives.
i’m feeling very selfish and foolish about the material things i’ve been obsessing about during this buying season. because you can’t take them with you when you’re gone and there’s no guarantee anyone will want them after you.
it’s funny that most of the things in these boxes are delicate, fragile items. my grandmother was a delicate and fragile women to look at in her later years. maybe we all wanted to buy her things that were to be handled with the delicate, careful touch that seemed to be her hallmark. to give her something that was bulky, hulky would have offset the balance of the cosmos. she deserved dainty things.
but as i remarked to my uncle, my grandmother had a different kind of inner strength so very rare in this time. she is the only person in my whole entire 28 year existence that i never heard utter a bad word against another human being. she never made comments that were negative. that takes such a strength and patience to still your tongue and only speak kindness. my father is also very good about this. i hope i can learn to be more like that. i am thankful that i grew up in a family atmosphere where first-glance judgement on your fellow-man had no place. i want to be better about providing this kind of atmosphere for our little girl, for our growing family. because sometimes i can be judgemental and i need to be stronger than that.
amongst the items i received was this beautifully carved wooden jewelry box. a few pieces of jewelry were included but at the very bottom of the box was this faded, typewritten prayer. it is worn and creased as if it had been read and re-read many times. upon finding this, the tears formed on their own because i know the universe is working through her to remind me of the strength she passed on in her example as a mother and grandmother. the universe is working through her and this moment to remind me of things i’ve let slip to the back of my mind.
it reminded me never to take for granted the life of my baby girl. and even when a person lives well into their 80s they are still a child to be called home. it reads:
TO ALL PARENTS
‘i’ll lend you for a little while a child of mine’ he said ‘for you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he’s dead.’
‘it may be six or seven years, or twenty two or three. but will you, till i call him back, take care of him for me?
‘he’ll bring his joys to gladden you and should his stay be brief, you’ll have his precious memories as solace for your grief.’
‘i cannot promise he will stay since all from earth return. but there are lessons taught down there i want this child to learn.’
‘i’ve looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true and from the throngs that crowd life’s lands, i have selected you.’
‘now will you give him all your love, nor think the labor vain, nor hate me when i come to call to take him back again?’
i fancied that i heard them say ‘dear lord thy will be done. for all the joy thy child shall bring the risk of grief will run. we’ll shelter him with tenderness. we’ll love him while we may. and for the happiness we’ve known, forever grateful stay.’
‘but should the angels call for him much sooner than we planned, we’ll brave the bitter grief and try to understand.’