The Little Things

You always hear people say that we shouldn’t love the material things in life, and usually I am inclined to agree. However, in one particular area of my life I must beg to differ.  Sometimes we have certain items that are so very precious to us because they keep our memories bright.

My mother is now in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She has changed so much in the past few years, from a vibrant, independent and beautiful woman, into a person who needs constant care. She can still smile in recognition at me, but can no longer carry on a conversation of any sort. We are losing her, bit by bit, with every visit and every passing day. This is probably why I hold on so tightly to a few items that came from her.

As I write this, I am wearing a pair of wool slippers that my mother knitted for me. They are teal blue and white with little bows sewn on the top. I found them a couple of months ago when I was sorting out some storage items, and even though they are a little tight, which was the reason I had put them away in the first place, I’ve worn them ever since, stretching them so they would fit. Just knowing that she had made them for me gives me comfort.

While I was looking for Christmas baking inspiration a few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for cherry cake in my collection, that was written in Mom’s elegant handwriting. I remembered her making that recipe many times over the years. My heart ached with loss as I read it, but I knew I had to use it. Now that Christmas is behind us for another year, I still have some of that cake left, and I savour every bite.

And on my right hand, I am wearing my mother’s wedding band. It had been sitting in a little box in my dresser drawer for months, waiting until the day for it to go on her finger for the last time. So for now I am wearing it, because it makes me feel closer to her, and to Dad as well.

So please don’t try to tell me that things aren’t important. Sometimes it’s the little things that we need to hold onto, the touchstones for our priceless memories. Sometimes it is all we have.

4 thoughts on “The Little Things

  1. Jennifer,
    This is a very touching piece for me. I actually shed a few tears as I read it. I also remember enjoying that cherry cake at Christmas time as well. But my favorite of all, were her nanimo bars. Yummmmm! I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you all, to watch your Mom slip away from you. My heart breaks too. I miss the good times we used to have, I often reminisce and tell others of those times.

    Keep up the good work! I have lots more reading to do, this was the first piece of your work that I’ve read. I’m looking forward to the rest and hopefully lots more in the future.

    ox 🙂 ❤


  2. Lynn’s comment is exactly our experience. For a long time I held onto dad’s last green / black winter coat. Just this past year I decided to pass it on to the needy. There are many, many things I have in my possession that are triggers to special days & moments.

    How well we can all relate. You are referencing love & identity in this piece, the absence of which creates a void which materialism can’t fill.
    Wonderful job, Jennifer !!!



  3. Jen I am enjoying your blog! When I read your entry on “The Little Things” I couldn’t help but to totally agree as I cherish the items I have that bring back such vivid memories of Mom and Dad. Interestingly, I am sure you and Jeff would agree, material things were not a high priority for Mom and Dad as others in their social circle. It didn’t define their happiness but the material things you refer to were examples of what did.


  4. I have been waiting for the 1st writer in our family to re-emerge, to see her thoughts and feelings in print once again, and to stand back in awe at the wonder of her perfect expression. I humbly occupy 2nd place, or at least I’d like to think I do, but Jennifer you are without question unparalleled in this field.

    In fact, you are one of my very favourite writers, whether it be your prose or your poetry, and “The Little Things…” proves it beyond any doubt. The poem at the bottom of the page has helped me better understand the relationship you and Paul share, and to see it as a true union, shining proudly in contrast to the entire world.

    But the way you capture the way “things” associated with Mom affect us, as we try to see here through this her final trial, has struck the balance of my own efforts to cope with it, and I thank you. It is indeed strangely and poignantly fascinating how these material items can have such a spiritual effect on us, and they do help us to feel closer to her, in spite of the “distance” this terrible disease puts between her and us.

    Jennifer, it is because writers/readers like you are out there that I care to agonize over every word I write. Whereas sometimes I feel as though my writing is composed of carefully selected bits and pieces of what others have written, both you and your writing are genuinely original.


Talk to me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s