Saturday, November 7, 2009


After Joy and I finished our work on Pop's den, we decided to go through some more of her things that needed to be discarded. Things like make-up, and lotions, and other personal items.

This is not a fun thing to do...but it is necessary. It feels almost intrusive, though. These are the things that she touched everyday. Just little things like 48 lipsticks, and 13 compacts, and foundation...10 or 12, lotions, Oil of Olay and Nivea, and 7 curling irons with teeth and without, buttons, old fashioned hair rollers, hair clips, toothpaste, toothbrushes,combs and brushes. Nothing great and wonderful...just the normal grooming things we all use to get us through the day. I wish I had taken a pic of just how organized she had it all. She could put her hand right on whatever she needed. Everything was in its place...she always put it back in the area she created for it. (It is obvious to those who know me that this trait did not pass on to me. Oh, I can organize it, and find a perfect home for's the 'putting back' I have trouble with!) She also had a drawer full of beautiful handkerchiefs, and hand towels. Some were embroidered with Granny, or Mother or some other sentiment.Here were some gifts from the grandchildren and notes from Joy and I. And, this scarf was among them.

I remember buying this for her for Mother's Day one year. It was in an April Cornell you remember those? I think they have all moved overseas now...but there was such a beautiful array of 'fancy' things there that she loved.
I thought this scarf was so beautiful and pink and prissy...all the things she liked.
And the verse that was woven into the fabric was so perfect, it would not have mattered how much it cost...because it was already hers.


My Home it is my Mother,
Within her heart I live.
Her love is like no other;
The sunshine it does give.
And like the spreading branches
Of a truly fragrant tree,
My Mother’s heart and arms
Have made a perfect nest for me.

The things we picked up and held and opened up and smelled were all familiar to us. We knew these were the things she used and had for years. We knew she like Clinique makeup and her favorite home fragrance was Nantucket Briar by Crabtree and Evelyn. She had a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth. These things were the things she had grown comfortable with and was happy buying again and again. She did enjoy trying a new eye shadow or lipstick, though.

Nothing we have touched and moved and discarded or given away or packed away has been a surprise to us. There has been nothing that has angered us or shocked us. There has been nothing that shatters that image we have of her. There has been nothing that does not point to the little lady who had Jesus in her heart and loved to serve him. It all points to how much she adored her husband, her children, her grandchildren and her friends. There has been nothing that does not fit into the life she lived in front of us for 77 years. Just another gift from her. The assurance that she didn't have hurtful secrets or unwelcome surprises for us to learn about now that she is in Heaven. Oh, I'm sure she had her secrets that she kept...who among us doesn't? And, there are things in our lives that no one needs to know about but us. That's not what I am talking about. I am speaking of those things that would show us that she was not the person we knew her to be. (Well, to be perfectly honest, she DID have little pockets of money squirrelled away in some strange places! :))

If I died tomorrow, would my children be able to say the same thing? I hope so. I can not think of anything I would not want them to find or see. Other than the fact that they would undoubtedly complain about all the things I kept that they could not understand, I would be at ease with them going through my things as we have Mom's.

Isn't that something we all need to strive for? To have only those things around us that speak to who we really are? If there is something that I feel I need to hide...I do not need to have it. (Except maybe that mad money for my next shopping trip!) I have learned throughout these months since Mom died that death is not the end of your influence. I have learned that you keep teaching and reinforcing those life lessons you taught. I have learned that seeing that your Mother truly is the person she portrayed to others during her life on earth, is a gift to treasure. This is one of those really special gifts...the kind you hold safely in your heart. Oh, may the same be said of me when I leave this world.
(This is a tea towel I gave to her a few years ago.)


Melinda said...

This was such a touching post and it made me stop and think about the question...what would my kids find if they went through my things. Funny thing is, there's not very much of it. Over the course of so many moves many of me personal items have been lost or discarded.

Just Breathe said...

What a sweet post. Makes me realize that I really, REALLY have to get rid of the crap I don't use so they don't get real angry when they go through my things.I have way too much stuff and still keep buying. I need favorites! They will never find anything they don't already know about. As I was scrolling through I blew up the scarf to read it (with my head tilted) only to see you wrote it further down the page. I had to laugh at myself.

nancygrayce said...

How very touching! I'm cleaning my stuff out right now! I don't want my kids to have any surprises either!

racheld said...


Jewel said...

So sweet.

"I have learned that seeing that your Mother truly is the person she portrayed to others during her life on earth, is a gift to treasure." I love it. You have so much to cherish.

Love Being a Nonny said...

I sure hope my children feel the same about me someday. I don't think they will find any surprises but they will find lots of junk...if I don't get busy! Thanks for the reminder. What a very precious mother you were blessed with.

Kat said...

Such a sweet and touching post Tonja! I hope my children could say the same things about me. I KNOW they would talk about the number of shoes I have though since they do that now. LOL


Southern Lady said...

Another beautiful and touching tribute to your sweet mom, Tonja.

My closet has been talking to me for about a month now, saying, "PLEASE throw away some of this STUFF, so I can breathe!" You have inspired me to do something about it SOON.

Together We Save said...

What a beautiful post and tribute to your mother. How wonderful to know she truely lived such a wonderful life.

Musicaljean said...

We're having so many of the same experiences these days, Tonja. And the same deep thoughts as well. I keep thinking about how it is that a person becomes either a blessing or a curse on future generations. My dad brought such rich blessings on generations to come, and that didn't happen as a result of laziness or serving himself. He put so many natural comforts aside in his pursuit of God and His Word. I feel so inspired and challenged by his example.

This was a wonderful post, Tonja.

Jillian, Inc said...

Oh, Tonja- this is so wonderful...and I know hard to do at times and a little hard to write about maybe. I can picture my own mom's stashes,too. ha! I'll bet I find some good things. And since you asked about our own stashes - maybe I shouldn't hide that box of Whitman's candy so well. It might take someone a long time to find it and who knows what happens to chocolate over a long period of time.

LivingTheLife said...

What a heartfelt and beautiful tribute to your mom. I had to giggle a little when you mentioned the $$$ she had squirreled away...we found the same things when my mom passed away...only she had several places with quite a bit of cash in each...she was a little stinker about saving money...she loved to save and daddy would spend whatever on whoever...whenever they needed it, so I suppose she was just saving for a rainy day. I still think about her "hiding" that money...I don't know if she was hiding for a rainy day or just hiding it from daddy...whatever her reasons were, they were important to her at the time...and finding it gave each of us cause for a smile and giggle!!

I love Crabtree & Evelyns fragrance Nantucket is my favorite fragrance in their line...I haven't bought it in years...but I do love it and this made me think of how much so!

Thanks for sharing your precious stories and memories of your mom...I know she was an amazing woman and I feel blessed to get to learn more about her through you!