Sometimes the poorest people leave their children the richest inheritance.
[Ruth E. Renkel]

I went through a variety of adjustments when I grieved the loss of my mama in 2001. It was the little daily things that reminded me of her absence. I rarely carried a purse when we went someplace together because I could turn to mama and ask for anything from a Kleenex to chewing gum, and she would pull it out of her handbag. Chap stick, hair pin, aspirin, pen, note paper—you name it and she had it. She was like a mobile Walgreen’s. After she was gone, I had to remember to carry those things for myself. I carried her purse for a long time until I’d emptied it. That took me a year.

Then there are her drawers. I inherited her bookcases and dressers. They were full—very organized and tidy, but filled to the top. For a long time, I didn’t have the heart to sort through them. I only opened them when I needed something. Gift wrap, thank-you notes, a protractor, magnifying glass, darning needles, an allen wrench—ask for it and it was in one of her drawers. A guest broke a shoe lace and we found a new pair in one drawer. Her drawers grew in fame among my guests. It almost became a game. Chalk, colored pencils, a ruler? They were there. Assorted sizes of nails and screws were sorted into little bottles. Playing cards, kaleidoscopes, lady’s fans…

I doubt if I’ll ever sort completely through her drawers. It would ruin the fun. It would also take away the feeling that Mama is still looking after me even though I’m well past the age of needing a mother. Come to think of it, maybe I’m not.

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