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Friday, 28 March 2014

The Accumulation Of Memories


She moved the other day, wrapping up almost twenty four years here beside us. She lived on an acre of land which originally belonged to  their farm. ( now ours) 
She had been given the name...  grandma beside us.
After seven years of widowhood, she moved to live with her only daughter and family.
A resignation of independence in  many ways and ready, but not ready.
 Are we ever really ready for those things that force us from our comfort zone?
Although still in great health, the unanimous decision by the family  was made that at 83, living alone poses some concerns. 

I ponder  the dynamics in our relationship. How they seemed to have  changed over the years.
How her interest in my(our) lives had at first felt invasive... but then somehow caring and thoughtful.
We were not your  typical daughter/mother in law. We shared an unspoken bond and common similarities sprinkled with vast differences but we accepted  each other, and understood one another in ways we never verbalised.

She lived far enough away that we had independent lives. She lived close enough to us to be an integral part of our lives. 
Now I drive by in the evening and I don't see her  at the table doing word search.
 The house is dark, deserted and lonely. An abode filled with memories. 
Mourning the woman who grew old in body; but whose mind and spirit remained youthful, knowing happiness is homemade and comes through serving others.


(one of the numerous quilts she stitched)

I remember a conversation recently with my family when we were eating dinner out at a restaurant. My children asked  if I could rewind time; which time, (in their lives) would I choose?
Hmm, I remember the sweet days of their childhood. Oh the simplicity, innocence and wonder...the problems and hurts that could be solved with a kiss and a hug.

"no" I could not go back there. It is the present that is beautiful...  the NOW that isn't finished.
 A  piece of art; to be appreciated in the collection of memories.

                                                ( I took these cuttings from her plant named baby tears...)     

Recollection brings out  beauty. In my mind I see her, my mother in law in the window waving.  Every morning she would watch for the school bus and wave to my children and whoever noticed her there. A steadfast and moving portrayal of life.
A wave, the stages and our days; then we move on to the next phase. 
Each one  brief and bittersweet. 

I pick up her mail that has not yet changed address. She loved mail. I guess when you live alone and your days are long and lonely, mail is that bright spot...that needed diversion. I start a pile to take to her when we visit. Something that will no longer be spontaneous, but a conscious choice and an event.


I sit here and think about change, and it's constant rhythm, the continuous surrender that must be embraced if we expect to live lives brimming with joy.
I know my mother in law will adjust to her new surroundings, I know eventually it will feel like home...
I know my heart will cease to have pangs at her absence.
I know we will sort her left over belongings, and look forward to new neighbours.

                                                           I'll treasure this recent birthday card...

                      Spring will bring robins and flowers will begin a new circle of life.

                               Though much is taken; much abides. 


  1. Hi Lucy,

    A lovely, heartfelt recollection of a special relationship, that has grown between two women, nourished by a shared love and respect for the same man, different in relation to both. I'm certain it will continue to thrive despite the distance.


    1. Poppy has left a new comment on your post "Tea and Curiosity: An Invitation":

      Hi Lucy,

      Thought I'd reply to your query about the tea party here, as it is also sent to your inbox; hope it's okay!:))

      The details are on the dress in the last painting: Wednesday, April 9th, at 11 am, at the Old Curiosity Tea Shop on main street Markham, ($20 per person). SO hope you'll be able to join us; would love to meet you my friend!


  2. Lucy, I so loved this post. It's beautiful...and poignant. And filled with so much thoughtfulness, grace and beauty.
    I am glad you shared this with us. I love the pet name "Grandma beside us".

    Your gathering up of these recollections seemed to be perfect for me this afternoon. Because, just as I was waking from a nap in the sunny living room, there began a similar kind of gathering of thoughts--if you can believe it--but not about a relationship between a mother and daughter/family, but about the relationship of the younger woman I was 20 years ago (as I'm working on a memoir about that younger woman). Who was she, as I peer into the shadows of the past, as I peer into pages of old photo albums and memorabilia books?

    Anyways...so glad I stopped by on this still sunny afternoon to visit you!!

    Hugs and blessings for a lovely weekend,

  3. That was a poignant post, Lucy.

    Your love for your mother-in-law shone through.

    I hope, so much, she is happy in her new place. Will she still me close to you in distance? I hope so.

    Take care. Susan

    1. Thank you Poppy, Brenda and Susan for your kind words.

  4. So touching and precious! i hope you print this and show it to her! she will miss you!

  5. So sweet. How lucky your
    children were to have a "Grama
    Beside You!" I know what you
    mean about that tenuous relationship
    with a mother-in-law. Sounds
    like yours now has very strong
    roots to weather life's storms.

    Thanks for sharing your heart.

    xo Suzanne

  6. Beautiful. I especially love your line that "Recollection brings out beauty." yes, and this is a lovely example.


thank you and blessings for words from your heart...