Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Legacy of a Step Child: Part III

That evening, after our frail attempts to look at my mother's drawer of jewelry, I was realized how ready I was to move forward in the grieving process. I wanted the time alone with my mom's memories. I did not want my grouchy step father hovering me like a security guard hounding a shop lifter. Wasn't it my right as her only child to take my time and reminisce while I ran my fingers through her night stand drawer? It wasn't like I just wanted to take her valuables and run. I wanted to relish the flashbacks to the days when she wore the red garnet charm just above her cleavage during the days of her youth and single-hood. I needed this time, alone and private, innocent and intimate. Not only was it important to my grieving but, my mother's will stated that she wanted me to have all of her jewelry.

I decided that this was not the scene I wanted to take my next steps on my mother mourning journey. Taking a deep breath, I distracted Sienna with her bed time routine. As she hopped in the bath, I pulled out the bed from the couch in Tom's living room and turned on Mary Poppins in hopes that would entertain her to sleep. Tom didn't come out of his bedroom for the rest of the evening. Through the darkened hallway, I noticed the light on Mom's bed side had been turned on and I could see that Tom was still frozen in time, still hovering over my mother's jewelry. It was a difficult moment for him. I understand that. But he had been living in their home for ten months since her passing and now tonight, at that night stand, it was my turn to weep. He actually stole it from me during this particular night hour.

Sienna fell sound asleep with Just a Spoonful of Sugar, as did Fred. Fred handles stress with sound sleep. I usually follow suit but tonight, my heart was torn. I missed my mom and wanted to share some time alone with her and our memories so I frolicked and fumbled through the darkened condo onto the garage. Mom and Tom had moved into this condo a few years earlier. They were downsizing from a large home with several gorgeous victorian-styled guest rooms. They had originally lived in a house in the woods that Tom had designed in his young chap days. They had once discussed opening their house into a bed and breakfast. But, as my mom's health started to deteriorate several years ago, they made the decision to downsize. And, although they did downsize in living space, my mom had refused to get rid of anything. So, the new condo's 2-car garage had become storage for a messy mass of boxes and dollar store sacks. Most of it was junk of old and new. New junk from clearance sales that my mother compulsively attended. And the old junk was from her past, resembling piles and piles of pains from her divorces, her childhood and her self-acclaimed grief of motherhood. (I can remember calling my mother to wish her Happy Mother's Day on the telephone. When I asked her what she was planning to do that day she replied, 'I never leave the house on Mother's Day. It is the worst day of the year for me." I was her daughter. I also was a new mom at that time. I hope I never feel so much resentment towards my daughters that I actually say those words to them. But, that junk is for a different post, let's get back to the part about her junk in her garage.)

As I scavenged through the old Christmas decorations, I recalled making candy and fudge with Mom when I was Sienna's age. We had made hard candy and flavored some with green peppermint and some with red cinnamon. I actually had a drip of hot candy drip on my finger. I still have the scar today. It is in the shape of America, on my index finger. Ahhh, getting lost on memory lane. I wanted those decorations but I was feeling like taking them would be wrong. I then realized that they were in a box marked to sell at a garage sale. Tormented, I walked to the other side of the garage. My feet were numb from the cold cement floor. I should have stopped to go in and get slippers but I was stuck in time. Breathing in through my mouth, I could smell the moldy, musty odor that fumigated their storage area. So much stuff sitting there for so long. So many pretty vintage pieces that I don't remember in my childhood but I thought looked beautiful. No wonder she had a difficult time departing with some of the trinkets.

I started to wonder where the crazy jugs were stored. At that instant, something drew my eyes upward. I am not sure why though because there were at least one million of knick knacks to look at easily on eye level alone. Perhaps it was my mom's spirit that lifted my line of attention towards the top of the top of the top of a stack of boxes stacked on more boxes on a shelf. There I found a note book. One of her journals. Then, about five feet to the right, I saw a shiny green cardboard box. For some reason, I stretched to the tip of my toes to pull that box down. In it, I found my mom's nice jewelry. Her diamond and gold and other gem jewels. How did they get in here? Why were they here? What would I learn from reading her notes in her journal?

Read more in future posts...


Lilly's Life said...

You know this could be a book don't you? I am hooked to read the next part now. You express yourself so well. Incredible!!! I am already trying to answer the questions!!!

Tammy Warren said...

Oh my goodness. I have been going through my grandmothers things recently. This is so hitting home for me. I am so happy that you did have things to go through.

Sheila said...

I'm following every word you write. My mother died last April. She wasn't young and it wasn't unexpected, but we had never had an easy relationship, and she attempted to exert some control over me right up to the end, even leaving a letter to me with her will, stirring up old disputes. I've had to put all her things in boxes and store them until I feel I can go through them.

Elizabeth Channel said...

I agree with Lilly! We'll all just keep encouraging you!