We have a cabinet with a glass door, the top has curved lines, and the sides are embellished with old spindles painted in the same blue.. It’s blue with a sweet little hinge that clasps the door. Inside are three shelves with books passed down to me from my grandparents.
There is Frost, Lorca, Auden, Whitman, Cummings, and Neruda.
The cabinet smells of my grandparents. A gentle swing of the door and I can feel the velvet of their sofa cushions, can hear the creak of the Calhoun steps and the whooshing of the tide on the shore in San Juan. I feel the rustle of their newsletters and correspondence from Central America and Europe around me.
I still recall the day we bought it from a shop in Greenwich. It was an unnecessary purchase, one of our earliest as a married couple. Driving home with it felt both wicked and grown up. From the moment we brought it home it fit within our things as if it had always been a part of us.
Over the years things have been added to the shelves; a tin sailboat, a baby footprint card, my engagement ring box. I’ve tucked photos between the pages, slipped flowers in to dry. The girls are fascinated by the cabinet, tempted by its contents and entranced by their reflections. Three little girls, a parade of memories as their reflections gasp to keep pace with their growth.
The other day I reached for a book and the smell surprised me, the co-mingling of two eras: the memory of my grandparents and my place with them as a little girl and this trove of treasures and this new batch of little girls.
Two weeks from now we’ll go, this married couple and our girls, to finally bury my grandfather.
Life will never be the same, and yet, a special blue cabinet with a little glass door, promises that it will go on.
I'm sorry about your grandfather.
My heart; broken in the exact same spot.
Thinking of you and keeping you with me.
May Sarton, in her poem "Mourning to Do" wrote:
So it is now the gentle waking to what was,
And what is and will be a long as I am alive.
“Happy grieving,” someone said who knew –
Happy the dawn of memory and the sunrise.
Thinking of you. And. Happy grieving.
may he rest, love. Gorgeous and whole
So sad and so beautiful. It's funny how life generally is both of those things, isn't it?
It's so bittersweet, isn't it? This comingling of generations and memories, mourning mixed with anticipation for the future?
Thinking of you, friend.
I hope it helps bring you some closure, even as I know it can't heal the pain. I have things like this, too, things that speak of both before and after.
Wishing you peace and sending love.
I feel just this way about my two grandmothers (one died in 1998, the other in 2008) and my kids. Thank you for articulating it so poignantly.
Love to you.
Oh, to have that connection. I'm sorry for his passing.
It's in the little things…the always being with us. Happy memories to you.