Finding Comfort in Heirlooms and Legacies They Left Behind
A lovely, heirloom clock sits prominently on the mantle in my living room. It belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Every hour it announces itself with a music box version of a familiar, classical song.
My attention is drawn away to thoughts of her when I hear it. She had a wise and quiet demeanor. Now that I am older, and know the right questions, I wish that I could ask her all of them.
Young and Foolish
When we were young and foolish, we took family heirloom quilts to the shared laundry facility in our apartment community. They were stolen.
It was heartbreaking. Those quilts were our everyday bedding. We were poor and it was a different time. You didn’t hang quilts on the wall. You slept underneath a pile of them.
I am sure that the moment I began to have children, I would have put them out of service and hung them on the wall to be passed down to the children.
Over the years we have bought and sold many worthless things. I don’t remember or have an attachment to any of it. Those quilts, though; I ache for them.
In our youth, we are far too ignorant of the treasure of the older generation. They sit quietly watching our mistakes, knowing that if they try to speak truth to us, we won’t listen.
When finally, after we are flattened and spent by our foolishness, we look up to ask our wise generation what we should do, but it is too late. They are gone.
Treasures in Heaven
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Another loss of Family Treasures
Just a few years ago, we put all the family heirloom ornaments and other special pieces in some boxes in my daughter’s attic for safe keeping. My son in law, unknowingly set them out on the curb to be picked up by the garbage collection and they were lost forever.
We dubbed him “The Grinch who stole Christmas” for years when we discovered it. I cried over those items.
The boxes contained pieces of my heart and things carefully crafted by my Grandmother. There were baby ornaments selected specially by grandparents, great Aunts, and great grandparents. There was a beautiful tea set that we used for our “Tea Parties” when my children were young.
Our tree was never a theme tree or aesthetically pleasing to the stylist. It was something far greater and far more beautiful to us. When it was all put together, feelings of joy and cherishing of life’s moments and lost loved ones would flow into our home and into our hearts.
My heart ached because everything I had from my Grandmother was in those boxes. She left the world suddenly. I didn’t get to say Goodbye.
Where Moths and Rust Cannot Destroy
When I crochet, my mind always goes to my Grandma. I was nineteen when she gave me my last crochet lesson. I remember saying to her “I can’t do this for long, it’s kind of boring” she gave me a gentle, simple reply; “Do you think I was sitting around crocheting when I was nineteen years old?”
This winter, as I was finishing up hats and ear warmers for my own grandchildren, thinking back to that last conversation I had with Grandma, I suddenly realized that I still had something from her. It could never be thrown away or “Destroyed by moths or rust”.
I have the beauty of a skill to create from my heart and hands just as she did. Every time I get out my piles of yarn and sit down to crochet, she is there with me. I look forward to passing this or other parts of my heart to my own dear ones.