Good and Bad

So, Ive had this post rolling around inside my head ever since we got our stuff (man, that makes it sound like there is a whole lot of empty hollowness in my noggin).  I've been wanting to write about my Mom and Dad - not just about them; but about a few of the things of theirs that I was lucky enough to inherit...  Some possessions that mean so much to me that they are almost a tangible thread that I could follow back to my Mom and Dad if I tried hard enough.  Ok, I know that sounds fanciful.  I'm hoping to explain it here though so maybe by the end you won't think I'm so crazy.

So, like I said, I've been thinking about this post; but I wasn't really in a huge hurry to write it.  Friday evening at work someone gave a talk about eating organic (explanation, if you want to give a short talk about something than you can while everyone is drinking - I know right?) and it seemed to push a lot of buttons in the office.... including my own.  It wasn't the subject matter that bothered me - I think that if you can afford to eat organic than you should.  It was more of the way the subject was presented - lots of blanket statements and not a whole lot of objectivity.  Anyway, you know me with the big mouth - first I chimed in to give some examples of how crazy expensive organic food is here.  Then, as the talk devolved into a discussion, I was trying to get across the point that eating organic won't save your life just as not eating healthy your whole life will necessarily condemn you to cancer.  So, I used my parents as an example - one who ate very healthy and died of cancer.  One who ate badly and died of cancer.

Ugh!  What was I thinking?  Now I am the girl with the dead parents.  I try really hard to just not ever mention that my parents have died - so hard in fact that, when I was leaving my old job to move to Australia, several people asked me how my parents felt about it.  See?  I am usually very very careful.  So, we went out to the bars on Friday night after all that and I ended up having a couple drinks too many - which means that I spent Saturday morning lying in bed thinking.  Oh no - thinking...

Usually when I think about my parents (which is all the time), I think of happy things - I try very very hard to not think about the sickness part of their lives.   So, when I was a little hungover, missing them and had the morning to lay in bed with my fuzzy head and think, I thought about all of the horrible things about the actual sickness and dying part of the time I had with them.  It didn't make for a good morning; but it did make me realize that I needed to shake all of those feeling off and write a wonderful celebratory post about my parents and the things they left for me.  I am going to rise above and make this happy!

First up - the spice rack...  This hung in our dining room/kitchen for as long as I can remember.  It was full of Spice Island Spices (the nice expensive ones) so it didn't get used very often.  Mostly, it was a place to stash bills and paperwork.  When we sorted through all of the stuff in my parents house before it was sold, I was lucky enough to get the spice rack.  I immediately hung it on my kitchen wall, full of the same dusty old Spice Island spices that were too old to use.  It was a bit like a shrine really - I didn't use it at all.  When we decided to move to Australia, I had to really think about what to do with it - Leave it in the States in storage?  Bring it with? Buy new spices and send them over? 

The main problem was the old jars of spices - you can bring spices into Australia; but they have to be new and unopened.  I wondered if I should save all of the old bottles and try to clean them out; but the assortment wasn't very good.  In the end, I decided that if Mom were here she would want me to use it - not just look at it on the wall like a painting.  So, I threw away the old bottles of spices, I bought new bottles and labels and I brought all of it to Australia with me.  I've been slowly building up my collection... each time I go to the grocery store I buy a bottle or two of spices and herbs and then I repackage it when I get home. I'm so glad I made the decisions I did - I use it almost every day and it reminds me of Mom's cooking. it's like having her in my kitchen with me every time I make a meal. 

So, the next bit of this story is somewhat of a confession.  I didn't come by this next piece of property through any sort of division of property - I took it.  Granted, I was about 16 or 17 at the time and my parents were still alive so it wasn't like I knew it would be worth something more to me one day.  It was just an old book that was down in the basement and I wanted to have it; because I thought that reading Shakespeare would make me seem really cool.  In reality, none of my friends ever really cared; but I had this book and also a collected works of Edger Allen Poe so in my mind I thought I was a young literary genius.  I've carted this book around with me for the last 10 years - it went through my house fire with me and it moved a bazillion times with me.  I'm honestly quite shocked that it's made it this far.  I decided to bring it to Australia with me because it is one of my oldest possessions (and I use the term possessions loosely) and I've just always had it with me.  I had never looked inside of it before we got here.  I'm not sure what made me open it up when I was unpacking our stuff; but seeing that the book was one of my Dad's college textbooks was like a little gift from him - A little message saying "I'm here with you". 

I started turning some pages and I found his notes.  His writing - such a wonderfully familiar sight - scribbled in the margins of the plays he studied in college.  He was exactly the same age in 1960 that I am now.  I made a mental note of the notes in the book and decided to blog about it.  So, this past Saturday, after I spent the morning in dark thoughts, Joe and I went down to the reserve to read.  I brought this book and my camera to take pictures of it for this entry.  I had such fun reading the little notes and reading the passages that my Dad underlined when he was 27.  I was careful not to look at every page - these sorts of discoveries are best when you can dole them out to your self in small increments over time. 

If I were to leaf through every page and read every notation - it would be too much.  I would feel cheated that there was nothing left to discover.  It was obvious that they hadn't covered every play in the book; and it's not like the pages were littered with notes.  They were few and far between - always judicious - so that makes them all the more precious.  I figure that I will know the next time I need to get  a message from this book.  This particular Saturday, I needed a really big message. 

I was really low, really missing them - feeling sorry for myself... sick of hearing people say "but you are so young!" when they find out that my parents are gone. 
I was sitting on the blanket next to Joe, taking my artsy pictures for this blog entry when I ran across not just a message; but a gift. 

An absolutely amazing gift.

So, now I am restored - back to thinking my happy thoughts!

11 Responses
  1. C. In Oz Says:

    This is a really beautiful entry, Mimi. And your photos are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing something so personal - it is very touching.

  2. Mimi and Joe Says:

    Thanks Cristin - I'm pretty happy with my blog thus far; but I've been feeling like my photos need work - that's my new focus! And np on the sharing... I'm totally ok talking about it if someone asks etc... I just don't always like to put it out there right away :)

  3. Samantha Says:

    I'm very glad you are able to have such lovely gifts from your parents here with you.

  4. C. In Oz Says:

    I lost my dad last year. I definitely know what you mean about the sharing.

  5. Lori Says:

    awwww...Mimi...Loved your blog. The pictures are amazing. The focus was really good on each of them. That is really neat seeing the leaf. Just imagining all of the time in that one leaf.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    That is a phenomenol post..not just the thought about your parents but about your amazing ability to face your grief in such a postive and life-giving way! This post should be in a book on grieving! auntie dia

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Meems.... we have talked like crazy over the past few years about this stuff so I am not going to say too much here. Just 2 things:

    1) I always thought you were a literary genius :-)

    2) You can come sleep on my couch for 3 days any ol' time.



  8. Anonymous Says:

    These photos and the stories behind them are beautiful. I'm glad you've shared it.

    Take good care,

  9. Mimi and Joe Says:

    @ Samantha - Thanks!

    @ Cristin - I'm so so sorry :( We can commiserate if you ever want to....

    @ Lori - Thanks so much for the compliments... I have decided that having really good photos on my blog is going to be my new focus!

    @ Aunt Dia - Thanks so much... I don't always feel like I handle my grief well all the time. I've had to really focus on it since we have been here; because being so far away makes me feel even further away from them (is that even possible?) so I have to concentrate on not letting it overwhelm me.

    @ Meaghan - Yeesh, I think literary genious might be a little strong :) Thanks for reminding me about the couch :D

    @ Mandy - Thanks Much!

  10. Florida Girl In Sydney Says:

    This is such a beautiful post, and what an incredible surprise to find in your book!

  11. Mimi and Joe Says:

    @ Florida - I know right? It was a very very cool moment!

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