Friday, January 6, 2012

Cupcake on a Plate

On Black Friday in November we were invited to the home of some friends who host a "Make Something" Day in lieu of "buy something."  The girls and I baked an apple tart to contribute, and spent the better part of the afternoon gabbing and creating in the company of lovely friends.  The girls drew, cut and glued, and painted on canvas.  Big Sis made a painting for Grandma Shirley, and we hung it in her room at the care facility and then on her sideboard when she returned home

Yesterday we brought home some boxes of Grandma's things, possessions she had designated for us and for the girls, and other items family members thought we would appreciate having.   Nestled in the boxes were Christmas gifts our niece chose for the girls, gifts Grandma would have endorsed. 

We inherited much of Grandma's Beanie Baby collection, including outfits, and when I returned home from stepping out with a friend for a glass of wine, they were lined up on the couch, tucked under a blanket. 

Photo albums Grandma kept of Husband and our family were among the books and treasures to remind us of her:  a ship on driftwood, a mermaid figurine, a porcelain clown.  A beautiful cookbook self-published by her cousin, an artist, caught my attention.  This morning, I reflexively reached for my phone to call Shirley and tell her how much I love it. 

Grandma kept lists of the gifts she'd been given over the years, with directions to return them to the givers someday.  That day was yesterday for us, and we found drawings and jewelry and framed photos once selected or created for her.  Big Sis discovered the painting she made for Grandma, "Cupcake on a Plate." 

"Mom, this is Grandma's!  It's supposed to stay in her house."  She looked puzzled.

"Oh, honey; she's not living there anymore.  They're cleaning everything out..."

"It's not going to be her house anymore?  Ever?"

I shook my head.  "No, it's not...someone else will live there."

Big Sis clutched the painting. "But, Mom, this was supposed to be with her forever--it was for her."  Her eyes welled up.  "It's not ours.  Why didn't they just burn it up with her?" 

I gulped.  "I hear that you want it to be with her always, honey.  You don't want it back, do you?" 

She shook her head.

"We can burn it, sweetie."

"And can we put it with her, when we spread her ashes in the water?"

"Sure, honey.  Sure.  We can do that."


Kris said...

How heartbreaking.... for all of you.

fer said...

It is heartbreaking, Kris, but there is lots of learning and significant moments of growth worth recording. The poignancy is peculiarly uplifting, too, at times...

aitchpea said...

Oh holy cow, I've got tears streaming down my face. I think that is a beautiful thing to do: mix the ashes of a gift given in love to the person loved.

kris said...

If you only knew how many nights you and your family are the topic of conversation at our dinners.