Today would have been Mima’s 93rd birthday. I feel especially melancholy today thinking of all the many treasures related to her that I lost in the fire. You already know about the afghans. But there was so much more. Before Mima moved from the home where she had spent forty-odd years, she gave me many things that she no longer had a use for but which were treasured by me–a clock, several pictures (one of them a pastel portrait of herself as a young woman), Christmas decorations. When she died a collected some things to remember her by–a shawl that still smelled like her, some of the jewelry I gave her on her last Christmas. I had a little “shrine” set up with some of those items in our old house, but didn’t have a place for them in the other house so I stored them–safely, I thought–in the garage. And then there were the many, many letters she wrote to me in college, many with a few stamps enclosed to save me money, which I had saved all these years.
People ask us if our belongings were insured. They were not, and our financial loss has been considerable. But no amount of money could replace the sentimental items that are gone forever. We say it glibly, and I said it myself to comfort the little ones on the night of the fire, but things AREN’T just things. One friend wrote in a card, “I wish that your memories will stay vivid to overcome the loss of those things we use to help us remember the good times.”
I won’t forget Mima. Of course I won’t. But I still wish I had her things.