Reflecting on the Little Things

For me, this winter has been a time of deep reflection. The dormant months are ideal for slowing down and looking inward, giving one a chance to rest, to heal, to quiet the mind and to focus on the spiritual side of life.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about and missing my mother more than usual. She has visited me in my dreams quite often in recent weeks.

I wonder why.

I suppose I could chalk it up to growing older and becoming infinitely more aware of my own mortality. Or maybe she knows I need her more right now.

Today, I dedicate this post to you, Mom. I wrote the following piece in January of 2012, ten months before our final goodbye.

 

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, 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 it would 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.

Our lovely mother in her younger days

35 thoughts on “Reflecting on the Little Things

  1. So very true. What a beautiful post. The things we get from our loved ones mean a heck of a lot and we hold onto them because they connect us to the lost loved one. I completely agree, Jennifer. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jennifer, this is beautiful. I understand exactly what you are saying. I have my mother’s watch and her anniversary ring and I get great comfort from wearing them. And during the time after my father died, when my mother was grieiving, she wore an ID bracelet she had given to him when they were teenagers – and never took it off. I’m sorry I’m seeing this so late – but I always save your posts so I don’t miss them 🧡

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew you would understand, Barbara. I hope the pain of your loss is easing somewhat and I’m glad to read that your keepsake reminders give you a measure of solace and peace. I remember when Dad died in 2003, I wore one of his favourite sweaters for months!
      Thank you for your kind comment, and no apologies necessary. xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Jennifer. Yes, it’s getting better, but the feelings sneak up on you…Currently emptying out our parents’ house – a huge task. As for being late reading blog posts, my week always starts out strong, but then my work schedule gets in the way!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A profound tribute to your mother and a life well lived. Your thoughts reminded me that we are ALL on a hero’s journey where endings are unknown and the twists and turns are opportunities to build resilience and courage. One quote that has stayed with me since I first read Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey in high school. “There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.” We must remember, for in the remembering we give purpose to their lives and grace to ours. Now, it is our turn to create memories that will sustain others that we leave behind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that quote, Rebecca. Sums it all up nicely. Yes, each of us is on a journey, never knowing for sure where it will take us before we reach its end. But giving a purpose to the lives of those who have gone before imbues a special meaning to our own. Thank you for your comment and for highlighting that point!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jennifer, a tender piece written for your mother, it shines through with love at a time of heartache for you. How right you are about ‘Sometimes we have certain items that are so very precious to us because they keep our memories bright”. You hold on to those items, cherish them, let me keep alive those special memories … a beacon of light within your grief and loss. I hope the dreams have been of comfort to you … my mother has dreamt unusually much of her parents this winter and I think it is a source of solace, and even moments of humour. hugs xx ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Annika, I appreciate your kind words of solace and understanding. What is it about certain dreams we have? Some may think they are random and meaningless, but I believe they have a purpose, to enlighten or comfort us in some way. And it’s always nice to get a visit from a long-lost loved one. Cherish your mother! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jennifer. I too have a few things from my Mother. Precious for sure. My Mom passed with a sound mind. However I lost my Brother, Graham, to the dreaded disease Dementia in his 60’s. Heart hurts to hear about you going through that with your Mom. I truly believe I was blessed by not having to see my Mom go through that. Hugs!
    Marilyn Noseworthy (Dawe).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your post really speaks to me, Jennifer, having lost my mother nearly two years ago after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. I miss her every day. I treasure the special keepsakes as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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