When Memories Talk Back

Today I have cried over everything. And nothing. And everything again.

I’d just LOVE to blame it on my hormones, but I think it runs much more heavy than that. Something has been buried; some emotion that I haven’t wanted to deal with, and for whatever reason today, prompted by nothing…and everything…it has decided to surface.

Here let me just give you a few examples:

This morning Robert left for work. River crawled around, paused, then whined for me to pick him up as I was eating my breakfast. So I did. However, then River whined for me to put him down….so I did. And then River whined some more because I wasn’t picking him up. This went on for the better part of 20 minutes, until I finally decided to put him down for a nap (where he was out like a light instantly).

I cried.

River wouldn’t eat his lunch.

I cried.

Our house wasn’t clean.

I CRIED.

When Robert got home, I told him that TODAY I just needed a break. TODAY I needed a little slice of time just for myself, and I headed off to the gym.

(Which, in case you were wondering, yes. On the way to the gym I cried.)

When I got to the gym, I put my car in park, and I just sat there. I didn’t even want to get out. When you have tear streaks running down your face and faucet nose, who really wants to go in there and “sweat it out”, you feel me? So I sat in my idle car. The longer I sat there, the more I began to realize that there has been this memory that has just been plaguing me the last couple of days. Every so often, I’ll just find my mind drifting toward it, or I’ll realize in the midst of it that I’ve stopped whatever it was that I was doing and I am just replaying it in my mind. It’s the strangest thing. It’s one of my most cherished memories between my grandmother (Nan) and I.

Nan died recently.  And I know. Grandparents are suppose to die-we all die-but… it just doesn’t feel like my grandmother died. It feels like my friend did.

If I could paint you a picture of Nan, she was this vivacious woman with an incredible southern drawl; the real slow and pretty kind. She was extremely funny-I mean her whit was ON POINT. She was hip. Kind. Sharp as a whip (and she’d let you know it too). And just a LADY. She was hard on me when I was little…she was hard on all us girls. She expected “pleases” and “thank yous”; “yes ma’ams” and “No ma’ams”. But as I got older, and matured, I realized that Nan and I really were kindred spirits. Some how I feel like I just got her…and I feel like she got me; accepted me.

Anyway, this memory:

I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but I was somewhere in my early 20’s, and my mom and I, along with her brother and his family, were visiting Nan in Virginia for vacation. On the day of this memory, I’m not sure where everyone else was, maybe down at the beach, maybe running, but the house was fairly empty with the exception of my mom downstairs, and Nan upstairs. I remember I was in the middle of doing some sort of unimportant nothing when Nan called for me to come upstairs because she had something she wanted to show me.

When I walked into her bedroom, Nan had laid out all her old jewelry across her bed. Before she even said anything, I B-lined it for her bed and started looking through it; examining all the different pieces. Picking up one, putting down another. Lingering on one…then two…then three…running my fingers over ridges, studying the uniqueness of each object before returning it. I just love old jewelry. Nan knew that about me. I love everything about it. I love that so many pieces have so many memories tied to them; there are so many stories attached that nobody will ever know, ever be privy to- just little keepsakes for that person alone. In the mix of Nan’s pieces, there were elaborate costume broaches, old tennis pins, clip on earrings (the kind women wore before piercing your ears became a thing to do), pearls, cufflinks, various sweater guards…It was an amazing collection.

“Nan! These are SO cool!”

“I thought you might like them. I know how much you love vintage jewelry, so I thought it might be fun to give you a piece of mine.” She said it so cooly and with a hint of mischief and elation in her eyes.

PAUSE….[See, when we (my cousins and I) were little, we were always allowed to lookat Nan’s jewelry, but never touch Nan’s jewelry. Yeah.freaking.right, just about the hardest thing to tell 4 young girls to do. However, looking back, it was probably for the best because between Tiffany, Lindsey, and I something was bound to get broken…or lost…or swallowed…Marie probably could have handled it though, mature little 7 year old that she was…]

OK, UN-PAUSE.

I looked at her with shock, “Are you sure!?”

“Of course I’m sure. I want you to. Pick anything.”

My eyes scoured and poured over my different options, before I finally settled on Nan’s college ring. It was gold, with a black onyx face, and Nan’s college credentials along the sides. It was my taste, and her taste, all wrapped up into one little ring.

“Can I have… this?”

“Ohhhhh this. I haven’t looked at this in years! This was my ring from Mary Washington. Yes, of course you can have it, it’s yours.”

I slid it on and it fit perfectly…and I just STARED at it. This ring held a story for Nan; probably a lot of stories. In it was wrapped up all sorts of memories from her college days at Mary Washington; days I would never know about or taste. And now Nan was passing it on to me. Now, because of this very moment Nan had created, this ring held a new story. A treasured memory of that one time my grandmother gave me a simple, yet beyond her knowledge, special gift. This ring held Nan’s moments, and now my moment, and, should I have a daughter, hopefully someday a special moment I will create with her, and  we will continue this ring’s story together.

So I guess that is the business, the truth, that has been buried lately; the well of emotion that I let pour out over everything…and nothing…and everyone today. A simple emotion. A simple truth. But a deep emotion, and an important truth.

I miss my friend.

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