It has been nine years since my mother left us. When I posted about my mom’s purse three years ago, I merely shared a photo and returned the sacred object to languish on the dusty floor of my closet. It is time. I need to dismiss the feeling I’m invading her privacy and deal with the contents. It’s deeper than that though. My mother’s purse was a part of her. It was always with her. Like Mary Poppins’ carpetbag, Mom’s purse was the container for all she needed. And, as with the infamous nanny’s bag, I grew up believing I wasn’t supposed to venture into its depths. But now. Now it’s time.
As Mom’s health diminished, so did the contents of her bag. By the end of her life there was no need for the candy, the crayons, the little pads of paper she always carried when my girls were little so they wouldn’t be bored during our “adventures.” Now I had charge not only over my mother’s health, but also the duty to be sure her bag was with her wherever she was: home, dialysis, nursing home… hospital.
By December 2, 2011 the contents had been pared down to the bare essentials. Although, her wallet still contained a myriad of credit cards – just in case. I remember the uncomfortable feeling as I surveyed the contents just after her death. As the executrix of her estate, I had to be sure there were no items to report. No, just the “necessaries.” I completed my task, apologizing in my head to my mother all the while for encroaching on her privacy.
Sunday November 29, 2020 – I decided to write the final chapter of Mom’s purse on this, the 9th anniversary of her death. I lifted the red purse with its “gold” embellishments from its dusty spot and brought it out into the light. I had waited too long. The last few years years had not been kind. As I walked across the room, the red “leather” flaked off, leaving a trail that seemed to berate me. “See? See what happens when you just leave something alone for so long?”
Just like Mom knew when it was her time, I knew I had to let the purse go. I carefully photographed everything then placed the contents in a plastic bag. (You didn’t really think I could toss it all out, did you?) As I gently laid the red purse in the trash container I thought of Mom and how I’d never see the bag again. But, I’m getting better at letting the physical things go. Taking photographs and writing the stories of “Our Stuff” really does help.
So, today, I share the story of her purse with the world.
I miss you Mom. But I know you are watching over us and keeping us all safe. Oh – and by the way, any chance you can do something about this stupid Coronavirus???
Oh – and has anyone noticed the color of the checkbook??
Family Mystery solved people!