Monday, July 28

Endings and memories

Yesterday, was a day for endings and remembering.

I read in the paper that Randy Pausch died. For those who are not familiar with the name, Randy was a 47-year-old professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2006. His "Last Lecture" (Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams) is great--both the You Tube video and the book version. It's hard to comprehend how a man so full of life could be gone. He leaves behind a wife and 3 small children.

Hubby and I attended a funeral visitation for the BIL of a work colleague of my husband's. Patrick Sawyer was only 40. He was hit by a car while riding his bicycle about 5:30 in the morning. It was a hit-and-run accident. The 21-year-old male driver of the car turned himself in 30 hours after the accident. (Does it make you wonder why he didn't stop at the time of the accident or turn himself in sooner?) Patrick had gone back to school as a nursing student after work related injuries forced him out of his previous profession. He, his wife, and 4 small children were living with their parents while he finished his degree. He would have graduated in August from IUSB's School of Nursing. (Donations for the family may be sent to: Benefit of Patrick Sawyer Trust Fund, c/o Key Bank, 202 S. Michigan, South Bend, IN 46601.) This is a senseless tragedy. It shouldn't have happened. Please, when you drive down the road, be more mindful and careful of the increasing amount of bicycles and other vehicles sharing our roads due to the rising cost of gasoline.

I also met my two SIL's at my FIL's house yesterday for a somber ceremony. Eleven months after my MIL died, my FIL was finally ready for us to go through her jewelry boxes. She had left behind explicit instructions on how to dispose of some of her possessions. That her DIL's go through her jewelry and take what momentos we wished was one of them. She loved wearing jewelry.

As each box was opened, memories unfolded. We laid the items out over her bed and carefully considered them. Some were things we remembered gifting to her on Mother's Day, her birthday, and Christmas; others brought memories flooding back of occasions when she had worn them. She treasured inexpensive costume jewelry as much as costlier pieces. I had come thinking I wouldn't take anything or maybe just one or two. I don't need objects to remember her by. My mind changed as we quietly talked. I pondered over what each object may have meant to her.

We found an old locket containing a picture that may have been her mother. (Her mother died of strep throat when she was very young. This was before antibiotics. She and her sister were raised by their father and grandmother.) I finally chose a small, flat, white jewelry box with golden tracings on the lid that I filled with memories of my MIL---small bits of inexpensive metal in the form of earrings, necklaces, and rings. I found myself feeling a bit guilty(?) for taking them, even though she had given her permission and no longer had a need for them.

For now, I will not wear them. The box will go in a safe place until I can bear to remove its content from their dark resting places and bring them once again into the light. I now have a better understanding of why it took so long for my FIL to let these things go. Too many memories...


islagringo said...

From what you have written in the past about your MIL, she seemed like the kind of person who would want you to wear her treasured pieces, bringing new life to each piece she evidently so cherished. I hope you can bring yourself to open the box sooner rather than later.
(beautifully written piece, by the way)

Anita O said...

thanks for the post about these men (and woman) whom some may have known but some may have not. Your writing about them keeps them alive and is such a tribute to these worthy people.