Monday Musings: The Things She Left Behind

Mondays are a day of reflection and gratefulness.  I try to look for something that will make Mondays not such a drag.  This week, I don't know if this has been accomplished though in some sense I'd have to answer yes. Today I got a chance to go through some of mami's clothes.  I sit here on the floor in my family room after a warm shower with her signature capri sweats on.  I thought about the title of this blog immediately as dad set out the clothes he'd boxed up unto his bed in the new room he has moved himself into in preparation for the frog princess and I moving in with him.

I couldn't help but cry as I set clothes aside.  I tried not to keep too many.  Dad is planning on boxing up the rest and sending it to Dominican Republic to hand out to needy people in the countryside.  Something she did often and lovingly.  Something I know I'll pick up doing just as soon as I get through the rough part of this grieving period.  I didn't get through it all.  And I probably kept too much to being with.

I was upset that dad went through all that himself.  That he had to feel the pain that I felt.  But, in going through it I realized that he'd just taken everything and thrown it in a box.  I think it had been too much for him and rightfully so.  It dawned on me when I got to her purse.  The brown Rosetti that I always threatened to take from her because it was so cute.  It was still full of her things.  Little notes with people's phone numbers or the name of a store, miscellaneous cards.  Treasures like hers and dad's ID badges from the hospital the day after the frog princess was born worn down from the time that's passed but with their names clearly printed along with our room number.

In the midst of my tears I had gotten a lull in the snot and sobs.  That is, until I found them.  The bit of wisdom that only a fortune cookie can carry.  I told my sister and she said she wondered what made her keep these. I have no clue of when it was.  I'm guessing on one of our excursions to The Crazy Buffet which she loved.  Thinking about those outings make me smile.  It's where the picture below was taken. More and more I see her in my mind as she was while healthy.  Looking through her clothes I remember her modeling for me and always using her hand to press her stomach down as if it was an iron pressing away the wrinkles.  She would pose, one foot in front of the other, one hand on her hip, and a funny look on her face.  And then she'd make a comment about something not looking good and I'd tell her she was crazy, that it looked adorable.  Then, she'd give me her big smile and pucker her lips at me.

The fortunes are her message to me on this night.  And so, although you might think this is a sad post and not at all what I told you Monday Musings (I finally settled on a name) was going to be about, it is.  I am most grateful for the message she sent me from beyond the grave.  Things that ring true for me at this point in my life as I go through so much flux.  So much doubt with where I stand at work, what my future holds in my personal life and my state of happiness in general.

The first fortune had a Chinese word on the back with its English translation.  The word, you ask? FAMILY.  The fortune? Your love of life can carry you through any circumstance.  I won't give you the lucky numbers because I'm planning on running out and getting a lotto ticket and don't feel like sharing the pot with the <insert number of subscribers here> of you.

The second fortune, and the one that got me bawling all over again because I can tell you that I am tired, weary and trying to make some very tough decisions on every aspect of my life: The Chinese word: SCHOOL (I think this was her way of telling me that life is a school and I am doing a whole lot of learning at the moment).  The fortune: Don't stop now! (with the exclamation point).

I couldn't believe it.  Through the tears I am feeling blessed and thankful to still have my connection with mami.  She taught me that, while I get to touch, feel, smell and hug the things she left behind ultimately, all the things of worth that she gave me are not things.  They lie in the faces of my dad, my sister, my brother.  In the smile of my child who I, without realizing she was sick, named her after. She taught me about family and about school and the importance of both.  And she appears to still be teaching me through the things she left behind.

I was able to get on Skype with my baby sister.  Eyes all swollen from hours of crying.  She's the only one I wanted to talk to.  Because she's the only one that could understand my words and the spaces in between.  Tonight, she lightened my load by carrying some of the weight for me. So, I find myself doubly thankful for the additional gift that mami gave me: a sister to share my grief, memories and smiles with.

What are you thankful for today? What has made you smile on this manic Monday?