Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On Being Sentimental

I had lunch with a long-time friend yesterday who lost her dad a year and a half ago. We had a lot in common as far as experiences, insights, and what we've come to learn. It felt healing to share with someone who has a fresh parent-shaped hole in her heart. One topic we touched on was being sentimental. We both share that about our parent's last Chapstick.

To anyone else, these are pretty ordinary things no one would actually put any thought into, but to me, they hold sentimental value. The face cream has a perfect two-finger dip in it. I figure that's probably the cream she used the day before she went Home.

The glass toothpick holder is feminine, pretty, and the design is kinda complicated--just like her. It holds flat toothpicks as opposed to the round; that's the kind she always used, even though I thought they broke too easily.

The saltshaker is something she's had since I was little. I used to brush my teeth with the salt from it whenever we ran out of toothpaste. She was extremely fond of miniatures, and this always reminds me of that affinity.

I still have dried roses to do something with, but since I don't have any ideas yet, they wait on a dresser and remind me of her beautiful memorial service.

One of my big projects has been sorting through her almost obscene amount of costume jewelry. I'm going through one box at a time, and I don't recognize 99.5 percent of it. Most of the earrings have backs, but aren't necessarily paired together, which makes it kind of a game.

These are items whose purpose I can't identify. I took them to church and asked some of the older ladies, and they came up with two fair guesses: Sweater clips (to keep a buttonless cardigan from coming open), or decorative shoe clips (for something like a loafer). I would really love to find out for sure what these are.

I tend to be sentimental about everything pertaining to my mom. Everything she touched is precious, even the small amount of clutter that's still in the dining room where I'm sure every little thing had its purpose. I'm assuming this tendency will calm and pool into something more akin to appreciation, where I can hold something ordinary of hers in my hands without wanting to keep it safe somewhere. (I think there's a reality show about people like that.)

For now, I give myself permission to remember her nearness to me when I sniff her pajama top, wear her silver hoops and chrome bracelet and do a little word search in her puzzle book with her pen--a private, silent sentimentality that is all right...

Friday, March 25, 2011


I never ever knew how important it would be to send a sympathy card or make that phone call to inquire or deliver a roasted chicken if not for what I've experienced these last couple of months. Actually, the impact was impressed within the first week after losing my mama, but as the cards and phone calls continued to come in weeks after, the lesson was embossed in my heart, and I will forever acknowledge the importance of reaching out, even if words seem empty and useless to you at the time in your attempt to comfort the grieving. Lesson 1: Reach out. Just do it.

Sometimes I think I'm over the immediacy of tears, of how ready they've been. I think Okay, I can do this. This is how it is afterward... Then I'll hear a song or read a fresh card or glimpse her precious face in a picture, and I'm completely undone. I am almost desperate for my next dream with her in it. I wake as if from some purchased time with her, analyzing the scenarios and attributing whatever meaning or symbolism they might contain. They are a precious gift to me right now, and my heart is turned to You in gratitude for every one of Your many hugs. Lesson 2: Let your heart grieve, but remember to worship.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

note from the past; hint of the future

I found this in my night stand. It's written in purple ink and dated 7/29/01.

In that twilight time j-u-s-t on the brink of falling asleep, sometimes I catch the movement of another world, one that's just not this one. There is an unfamiliar dimension about it that is at once both warm and odd. It's soft, unlit yet not at all dark, and foreign. There is an invitation, a tease, a curiosity, and a fullness. It is only a glimpse--one eye blink of notice, and that is all I am given. I know it is the border of my Home. Nothing else could draw me like this. Nothing else exercises all my senses toward some kind of Anticipation.

What awe in that Place where there is no night, our tears are wiped away, the glory of Christ is celebrated, and He is acknowledged as KING.........!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Asian English

One of my favorite things to do is to read the English promotions and instructions on Asian packaging. I laughed so hard that I cried one time when Ryan read some to me in an exaggerated Asian accent while I was driving. The guy next to us was pretty entertained by my apoplexy.

While this might be considered pointing-and-laughing by some, amusement at the expense of someone who speaks English as a second language, I am a word girl and consider it to be simply entertaining, no different than when Dat Phan imitates his mother. At least they have a decent grip on a second language, whereas my only claims are Pig Latin and Ubbi Dubbi. Plus, everyone knows you can poke fun at your own race, even if you're only part. My mom elevated it to the level of an Olympic sport!

These are some labels I currently have in the house. I enjoy them, especially when I "hear" Ryan recite them.

Guess you have to soak one stick at a time...

"lustrous, bright, soft and nutrient noodles"

Beware of children under 6 and the elderly.

My Favorite

If I give the goods, they'll send me a new one.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


The medical world has you rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10 (worst), and Kev's gone from a 12 that had him in tears several times, to about a 5 today. He's a little ditzy on these drugs in a humorous way. He's sleeping now, and it's the sweetest mercy from God that he can sleep. I've tasted only a drop of what my dad went through for three years with my mom, helpless and thoroughly piercing to see your very best friend trapped in a 24/7 pain that nothing can touch.

Kev's convinced that he's going to work tomorrow because they need him, seeing it's the end of a trimester and a bad time to be gone. We shall see how that turns out.

The fridge has given up the ghost, so I have all its contents in four coolers and three boxes out on the deck. The insides of the fridge and freezer are now all ice white clean, thank you very much. Even in this is there mercy as it's still cold outside, and nothing is rotting, and I had the time to get 'er done.

I don't know if the big toe on my left foot is broken, but it's red, swollen, and doesn't like to bend in any direction. I'm pretending it's a moody diva hamster that just likes to be left alone in her moody diva preferences. It's worked so far.

Watching the Academy Awards and the red carpet show afterward on DVR kept me entertained all day
as I busied myself with endless fridge stuff. Funny how His still, small, precious, present Voice resonated as I needed it during times like spilling spaghetti sauce all over the cupboards while emptying the fridge, boxing up its contents & trucking them out onto the deck, stubbing my maybe-broken toe, juggling one phone call after another on a limping Bluetooth, and attending to my still-broken Kev... His nearness and presence are priceless gifts that will somehow carry their import into the next life with me.

It is like a violence how a life can be there one minute and glaringly absent the next and all the next minutes after that. I don't know but a smidge of how my poor dad must feel every single hour of every single day without his lifelong love. What I do know is that He is there in that every single hour of every single day, everpresent, evernear, everloving, and everkind. We take of that grace, mercy, and kindness as we will, and there is always, always enough.

And so shall there be Enough always...