Because of health issues, my mother had to move out of her home where she lived independently and into the skilled living area in a nursing home. Having her go through her home and decided what she wanted to keep was … well, it was god-awful for both of us. She ended up with at least 14 copy paper sized boxes that she wanted to keep and to go with her in her new space. She was moving into a room with a roommate that was about half the size of a one car garage. I went with emotion over logic and said, yup no problem, loaded them up and at least three of them are still in my attic.
The wedding vase was very important to her. I swear I had never seen it before she made the move.
She talked about it always sitting on her parents’ dresser growing up. I have no idea where it came from or how it ended up on her parents’ dresser. She told me that sometimes change was kept in it. No markings on it, and no Native American origins in my family history that I have found so far but it was important to her, so I made sure she had it in her new room.
In the nursing home, she had it on the window ledge with a plant and like her parents, kept change in it. Sometimes I buy snacks for some of the residents that don’t have money to use the vending machine she told me in a whisper. I tried to sneak a dollar here, handful of change there when I visited.
One day I visited her, and the vase was in pieces with change in the shards of pottery. An Aide knocked it off, she said with a catch in her voice. Doesn’t matter, just throw it out. And my heart broke. I gathered up the pieces and took them home. I worked for hours on trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together and then match the paint and the markings. It isn’t perfect. It certainly isn’t Kintsugi, but it was vase shaped and it held change again.
She thanked me for fixing it, but something had been lost even with my best efforts. It sits in my study, still holding change a reminder of sometimes we can try so hard to help and still not be able to fix things.