Sunday, February 24, 2013


Half the walls in our house are solid concrete.  Which is a pain in the bum when you're trying to hang art work.  The Husband employed the same hanging techniques as our tenants who used to live here, but maybe their artwork was paper backed onto cardboard but the system isn't working for us.  And this has been a slow dawn on us as the occasional canvas has dropped to the ground.

But yesterday was different.

When my mum died she left her collection of art to the Sister and I.  Mum was many things, and she had an incredible eye for art.  It was brave and contemporary and well.... Mum.  Her art was her signature, and there were many works she snuck into the house, daring Dad to comment on the new acquisition and dent on the credit card.  With my Dad happily alive and kicking and with both the Sister and I living in Australia, it's been a slow transition from his walls to ours, and there are some that will sit snugly on Dad's walls until they are no longer needed there...

And the art is like a roving collection - neither The Sister or I have laid claim to anything - it's shared, we have an understanding, we own it together.

But yesterday one of mums favourite art works, and one of mine, for this reason, came crashing to the ground.  The glass was shattered but the artwork thankfully untouched.  It will be reframed quickly and hung properly by someone with a concrete drill and hangy thing.  Or else it will head north to the Sister for her turn.  I was gutted.  And had a revelation in my fright as I discarded the glass painstakingly from the frame.

See here's the thing...

When you have lost someone, there is suddenly a finite number of "things" as in physical possessions that they have left.  Memories and feelings are infinite, and we can nurture them and revisit these at our pleasure and leisure.  But actual physical things are different.  It is something that can be touched and is physical evidence that the person we lost, walked the earth, made decisions, decided to buy that "thing".  It's a physical reminder of that person and it's irreplaceable.
And for me, I just put at risk, not just something worth a little money and that is beautiful, but something that my Mum coveted and opened her wallet, swiped her credit card for and proudly took home.

No one in my house can truly understand this.  Nor understand the dark and sad mood that descended on me for the rest of the day.  I only have so many possessions of my Mum's left.  Once they're gone, that's it.  That's it.

Do you have precious possessions of someone that you've lost?

ps.  Sorry Sister.


  1. I really understand how you're feeling. I was very close to my maternal Grandparents especially my Grandmother. I was left a few of their possessions and they are cherished. My Grandfather's electric razor is used by my first born and when ever I see it with his name on it I think of his bristly white stubble and how it would rasp my cheek. And I have my Grandmother's rolling pin. I don't use it much but I'll use it to break up biscuits for crumb bases and I always use the same venom that Grandma would have. She was a feisty woman.

    I know they're only things but the memories they invoke are priceless.

  2. I love to have things around that belonged to my late Mum and Dad. Things that were always in their home and just a part of who they were (besides treasured jewellery and paintings my Dad did). Like Mum's little ceramic elf on a tree stump that the husband and kids don't really like - so I've got it on the windowsill in the bathroom. And Dad's collection of plaster jazz players which only my 10 yr old appreciates so it is on his windowsill.
    Sometimes I stop and think of a question about my childhood and realise there is no one left to ask what really happened. My siblings would always have another take on it and Mum had always set us straight. Yeah, that.