Humble and reserved, she rarely spoke about herself or expressed an opinion. She would answer some questions about her life, although guardedly. Often, she would shrug off questions she may have considered too personal.
I describe her personality to explain why some things were such a surprise discovery after she passed two years ago. She was sentimental and had strong emotional ties to her past. I knew how much she loved her parents and I heard many of the family stories shared by her siblings.
But that doll she held in a picture of her when she was a girl? It was a surprise that she still had it….wrapped lovingly in cellophane and carefully placed in a protective box.
The cute little girl dress she wore in some of the pictures? It was made by a favorite aunt and it was carefully folded and placed in a box with other special articles of clothing. Thankfully, the contents of the box were labeled when she moved. We would have never known what a pretty shade of pink it was if it had not been kept.
And the love letters she received from her future husband. during the Korean war? She had mentioned them only once.
It was a surprise to find those things because she had never or rarely talked about them, and discovering them was like finding buried treasures. They hold no monetary value, but they are part of the life story of the woman who bore and raised and loved the man I married and love. Each item is a story she had in her memory bank-holding more value than silver or gold or money in a bank.
My mother-in-law’s great-granddaughter happens to be about the same size as that pretty pink dress that Auntie made. Thankfully, I have daughters-in-law who are thoughtful and kind and one who didn’t mind putting an 80-year old dress on her daughter in her child’s great-grandmother’s pretty pink dress so her mother-in-law could take pictures of her mother-in-law’s childhood dress. Father-in-law also took pictures of his granddaughter in his mother’s dress. Between the two of us, there were a couple of pictures that worked to put alongside of the picture of the original owner of the dress. With a majority of males in the family, this was the first opportunity for a little girl to put on that dress.
Here is the generation photo.
I’m so glad that my mother-in-law had met her great-granddaughter. I’m grateful my son and his wife traveled seven hours so their grandmother could be introduced to their daughter and they could spend some time together.
Along with the little cupboard (read its story here), the pretty pink dress tells a story of family connection and love. Even though her treasured things were only discovered by us after her life here was over, I am grateful that special things were kept which help tell about her life. Like the many shades of color there are, love can be expressed in a variety of ways, like the gift of a handmade knit dress in the perfect pretty shade of pink.