As many of you know, my husband’s mother recently passed away. It was partially expected and partially a surprise. We all, including my father-in-law, are doing surprising well. But, there were moments that will stay with us that might be slightly outside our perception of the norm.
For example, my sister-in-law, daughter and I were sorting through belongings, at the insistence of my father-in-law. He wanted as much taken care of as possible while we were there. So for two and a half days we rolled up our sleeves and went through 66 years of marriage. We matched broken earring backs to the earrings, we found stick pins that had been missing for years, we complied more silly silk flowers than Carter has pills.
One item we found was a broken music box. The top was split. The music part unglued from the base and the handle to wind it gone. She had loved it, but it was far beyond repair. We shook it, turned it and finally admitted it was for the garbage bag. Five minutes later the garbage bag was full of music from the little box. We dug around to retrieve it and as soon as we touched it, it stopped. Nothing we did could make it run again.
One silly necklace she loved to wear at Christmas was a string of tiny Christmas lights that ran by a battery pack. They twinkled all different colors. We played with it, no go. We checked the battery pack and it was empty. Many of the tiny bulbs were broken. Cindy, my sil, sat it on the bureau as it was time to fix lunch. I went to get something out of the bedroom and stood in shock. I called to my daughter and sil, to come quickly. The necklace was blinking like crazy. No battery in it mind you. Cindy picked it up and said, “Okay, Mom, you’re messing with us.” The necklace went completely brilliant and then died out. No shaking, twisting, or fussing would turn it back on.
Later that night we were all sitting in the den, tired but happy to have many of the family together. We began telling stories- good ones, bad ones, silly ones- you know the sort. My husband began one about how his mother always admonished him for sitting on the pretty straight back chairs deemed for “proper” ladies rather than in the ones meant for someone more his size. At that moment, literally, the dainty chair he was sitting in crumbled to the floor in at least fifteen pieces. My husband had no chance to catch himself and ended up in the midst of a rubble.
My father-in-law looked to the ceiling and said, “We get it, Toni, just give us warning next time.”
We had even more stories such as these over the combined recent four trips we made out there, as did others in our family. My ability to believe in the larger universe is growing. Have others had experiences such as these?