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Grandma’s Room

August 18, 2010

My daughter has moved back home and is now living in what we have always called “Grandma’s Room.” When we looked at the house, we knew that room would be perfect for Dave’s mother who stayed with us here in Atlanta during the winter months.

I haven’t spent much time in that room since Marrion passed away, nearly a year ago. When I walk into the room now to see my daughter I feel an overwhelming sense of astonishment because her absence is still so incomprehensible. It hits me like a brick wall. Tissue boxes and Merle Norman face cream are still tucked away under the sink, just like they always were. And I tell Robyn to leave them there. It’s where they belong.

And I feel the way I’ve felt for almost a year now: I have one foot in the present and one foot in the past.

It seems impossible that she’s not here.

Loss is big and vast and incomprehensible. Loss is also tiny and close and very real. It’s knowing you’ll never hear her voice again.  Never see them lounging on the couch in new pajamas. Someday you have to enter the room and empty their closet, look under their bed, give away their eyeglasses and paperbacks. Loss is not knowing what to do with the prescription bottles that line the dresser, the face cream and their driver’s licence, and the new blouse with the price tag still on it.

And loss is not knowing what you’ll do when the next person dies.

Loss is death, but it’s also life. It makes you want to grab on and not let go. It’s a reminder that it can change. And that it changes everything.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2010 1:14 pm

    Gwen, it’s all so tangible and oh so true. The death of a loved one brings all her belongings to life. And what to do with those items? It’s the biggest question of all. We have beautifully framed pictures of the family that my mother in law used to line her walls/ Now they cover ours. And who are in the pictures? Us, of course. But this way, we have remembrances of when we gave them to her and how much she loved them.

    Thanks for this reminder.

  2. Sandy Smith permalink
    August 18, 2010 3:23 pm

    Gwen this is a very touching piece. Marrion is always there, but has been on my mind a lot in the last few weeks. I miss her so much. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Jessica permalink
    August 24, 2010 10:00 pm

    This week my brother would have turned 40. Loss is definitely hard and even five years later – whether it be a voice, a song, a look – little things keep them in your life. I am thankful for my life and also for these things… Thank you for the memory

  4. November 24, 2010 11:59 pm

    Oh Gwen…you have pierced to the very heart of the experience. Thank you for this. You’re right loss can be so large and all-encompassing and yet it often reveals itself in the tiniest things. Thank you for this.

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