“So you keep a secret drawer with a few items of her favorite clothes. And you retreat to press your face into them, searching for the familiar scent of her that has long since faded.”– Suzanne Leitz
Suzanne Leitz’s post perfectly sums up why I left this blog after only a few posts. It’s hard enough to be broken, but to be broken in public is raw and messy and sometimes you must step away and do the hard work inside yourself before you can relive the sweet memories. The loss of my beloved Nanny hit me hard. I thought I’d be the strong stoic type that holds everyone up in times like these, but I was a mess. Still, nearly 5 years later, I’m sitting here today with Nanny’s sweater wrapped around me. Her smell has long since faded, I’ve worn it so many times on the hard days when I needed to feel the warmth it provides. I have worn it more than she ever did and it both comforts me and pains me. She would hate my wallowing and tell me to go wash my face and DO something productive. So here I am. Beginning again when words are never enough.
Life does somehow move forward: kids grow up, people change, days go by slow but years fly by all too fast. It’s been almost 5 years since we lost her and I think about all the things she’s missed and all that she would have loved… 5 years of family gatherings, family meals, and new babies born into our family. I’ve certainly changed: finished two degrees, moved to a new house and became a grandmother myself. I could sure use her advice on how to navigate this new territory…
Still though, I get reminders every now and again of her and her love for all of us. One such thing comes in the form of pennies. This is one of those Chicken Soup for the Soul type stories- really sentimental but brings comfort all the same.
So when we cleaned out her house as mentioned previously we found all kinds of stuff she’d kept over the years. My mom and I went down and started the process of sifting through a lifetime of collected things and I started a memory box for each of her kids and grandkids. Stuff like cards they shared, photos, and special things that I thought might bring them each comfort in their own grief.
We came across a cloth bag full of pennies. ?? I stared at them for a long while and then my cousin mentioned he remembered her saving pennies of all the grandkids birth years. So I sorted them into piles- luckily everyone was spaced apart just a bit. By the end all the grands had a small pile of pennies of her precious thoughts to take with them. Except me. I guess 1974 was a tough year for pennies because there wasn’t a single one in the whole bag. I didn’t dwell too much on it, it just was what it was- and I had my own box of collected memories- some pennies were not a big deal- so I thought.
I have found or been given by happenstance a 1974 penny at least one time every month since November 2012. Most of the found ones have been in my house, or my car, or in the parking lot beside my car…you get the picture. Every. Single. Month. Usually more than once a month. Now many may scoff and say it is just coincidence, and I’d tend to agree, but this one gets me. I have found a zip bag full of them by now- more than was ever in the original cloth bag to begin with. It never fails to make me smile. It always makes me think of her and every time I find one it’s as if she’s saying, “I miss you and think of you every day too.”
So there’s not an official recipe for this post… sometimes we are just transparent and human-and maybe someone here reading this needs that kind of post today.
I feel somehow more ready than I was back then to write about our time together, our family recipes, and continue that legacy of family time around a good meal as best we can with an empty place at our tables.
What I do have for you is this… (found on Pinterest)
And I do hope you find this recipe useful and good for your Beautiful Life.