the past couple of weeks for me and my family have been filled with the arduous process of cleaning out my grandma's house. it's sad and dispiriting to know that all these things she and my grandpa had kept in the house they had built will never again be used or seen by her or them. sitting on the lounge suit she had specially designed and made in Sweden for her brand new house in the late 60's is not the same now she's not sitting next to me. and even worse is the constant bickering and bargaining of my father and his siblings over what goes where and to whom.
i don't feel that being given a few pieces from her house so i have something to remember her by is the same as having been given her scarves by her when she was still alive. there's little to attach to a piece of glassware or silverware that just ended up in your hands out of convenience. but i find a bit of comfort in looking through the scarves that she used to wear and knowing which ones were her favorites because she had told me so.
(a few of my favorite ones - there are MANY more).
(grandma's favorite scarves - the mustard and black Christian Dior one i remember her wearing often).
taking this into account, i decided to find something new to remember her by. it may seem materialistic or superficial, but when i get upset i shop a lot - i find the hassles of styles, cuts, colors and sizes takes me away for a moment from what is going on around me. so the Alexander McQueen bracelet i bought from Net-A-Porter the other week was purchased with my grandma in mind. her name was Iris and the bracelet has an iris on it facing a skull. it's not something she would have particularly liked, but for me it's a little something that i can wear without thinking of the past but still being able to think of her.
i did however, take two things from her belongings that i'm really glad i now have. the first was just a junky piece of costume jewelry i found in a box of tchotchkes that my cousins and aunt had discarded after deciding it had no real value. i, luckily, quite liked it and upon taking it back home my dad saw it and told me how it was indeed her favorite piece of jewelry. apparently she had bought it during her first ever lunch break when she had started working for the DPP and dad remembered her wearing it to work everyday for years.
the second item is the red Japanese vase. it was (if my father's memory serves him correctly) a gift from a visiting American dignitary around 1985, and was displayed in her chambers until she retired from the bench in 1995. it then moved to our farm house and then eventually to her china cabinet at home. i've decided to put it to more use than as something ornamental, but i think she would have liked the practicality.
one day it'd be nice to be as great as she was.