Gifts from beyond the Grave

Have you seen those movies where a loved one has died and a letter is found that was left for the grief-stricken wife? Or a video left for the children? Loved ones reaching out from beyond the grave.

My mom died in 2018. Her spirit continues to bring me delightful surprises.

My brother gave me two boxes last year, securely taped up, marked Angela.

I brought them home and put the unopened boxes on a shelf in my closet. I had no idea what items were in those boxes, but I knew they belonged to my mom.

I wasn’t ready to deal with whatever those boxes held.

A few months ago, my daughter found a box in her house, one that I gave her in 2015 when I downsized from a house to a condo. I was getting rid of so many belongings that I lost track of who I gave what to.  What did I donate? What did I give to family?

I opened the lid on that container and found two treasures; both belonged to my mom. One was a short Persian lamb jacket with a fur collar like women wore in the 1950’s. I loved that little black jacket.  Occasionally I wondered what happened to it, and was sad that I got rid of it. But nope, it was here the whole time. A coat from my mom that I thought was gone forever! I hugged it to me!

Under the fur was a black London Fog coat. Not necessarily my style, but it was my mom’s.  It had her energy on it.

After cleaning out my mother’s closet, I let go of most of her clothes when I could have taken whatever I wanted. Generally, her clothes hung on me.

At home, I tried on the London Fog in front of my mirror. The long sleeves covered my hands, giving the appearance of a little girl playing dress-up in her mother’s clothes. Then I remembered a friend told me she took her deceased mom’s clothes to the tailors to be altered for her size.  

I didn’t know I needed it. I didn’t know that I wanted it, but once I had that London Fog coat again, I knew I wanted to keep it and wear it. So I took it to my tailor. She stood me in front of the three-way mirror and said, “This coat fits you. The shoulders are just right. The only thing that needs to be fixed is the sleeve length.”

That seemed to be a divine gift. After the alterations, the coat fit me perfectly.

Alone in the house today, I was ready to look in those boxes that sat on my shelf for nearly a year. I cut through the tape and opened the first box.

A Harry Potter pillow, a frame with family photos.

Nothing too sentimental.

I opened the second box.

A musical jewelry box filled with earrings, necklaces, bracelets.

Mom’s jewelry box.

A bag full of rosaries and medals.

A bible.

Nothing emotional here.

A Christmas mug, a Crucifix, a carved wood statue of Mary.

Nothing of great financial value.

Her music book with cheery Christmas songs.

In the memory care unit, I sang familiar songs with mom accompanied by my ukulele. She was in choir for over 40 years. She was in choral group for 15 years. I often joined her, singing together. Here are the pages of her music. Silent.

Her wallet and her handbag.

It’s these two items that give me pause. That make my throat clog up. My mother’s wallet and her handbag. I remember her carrying around that bag and others like it. Even after she was in assisted living facility and we took her out for lunch, she would take her handbag. She no longer needed it. She had no license or credit cards. We paid for everything. But she took it. Out of habit. A long, long habit of not going out without a purse, just like she would never go out without lipstick.

The jewelry, the rosary, the handbag. When was the last time she used them? When was the last time she wore them, touched them, prayed with them?

I sat by her bedside when she was in hospice and prayed the rosary, fingering her beads.

When I let go of my mom’s bits and pieces, I had no idea I would be delighted to have them back.

They bring me joy, these possessions from my mom. They bring me sadness.  These may be the last of my mom’s personal belongings.  These gifts from beyond the grave.

Angela DiCicco

The Italian Grandmama

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Do you have gifts from beyond the grave? Please share them with us in the comments!

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