So my aunt’s birthday was this past Sunday, February 16. I was dreading it. Since my grandmother’s death, I have been wearing Grama’s bracelet, one of two that she put on in India in the 1940s and never took off until the doctors had to cut them off in surgery late in life.
So, after surgery, my cousin, Barb’s daughter, got the intact one, and I got the one they cut off. It was eerily creepy to me during the surgery because during my entire life they were a part of Grama’s right wrist. But she did live several years after that. So her bracelet sat in my collection for several years after surgery. But when she died, I put the cut bracelet on and never took it off again.
Until Sunday, 2/16/14. What would’ve been my aunt’s 60th bday.
As I said, it wasn’t intact. It was cut in one place and was a precarious piece on my wrist for the next year and a half. But it was completely Grama. I noticed it opening back and forth for the past couple of weeks. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. But I never thought it would break on Barb’s birthday. When it happened, I cried like a baby, expecting and dreading it together. I felt a sign reaching through to me. “We’re here, together” wherever.
No final answers on what it means, but here I am. And that is all.
One of the things Auntie Barb left me was her sewing machine. I haven’t touched it except to shuffle it around my condo during rearrangement times since she died nearly a year and a half ago now. I just for some reason couldn’t bring myself to get into it. Until tonight.
I have to say, I’ve always intended to use it, for sure. She gave it to me intentionally because she knew I liked to sew. However… I just couldn’t really touch it until this month. This 2014 is a year of mindful goals… I told myself February would be the month. In homage. Her birthday was the 16th, Sunday. The same as her lockbox code when we needed to stay with her and come and go when she couldn’t get up to answer the door, but wasn’t yet ready to go into inpatient hospice. 021654. Her birthdate.
So tonight, duty intact, I started wiping it off and reading the manual. To be honest, I can’t wait to use it and take care of it, and love it! I loved to sew. I learned later in life and then my mom ruined my little portable machine when I lent it to her.
As Barb faced the inevitability of death, she started to give away her things. She offered me her old table top Singer. My mom had already broken mine so I said yes, of course.
When I was little it was a prop in the basement to hold up the old beautiful wood chess set. When she was dying, it was an upstairs prop. Holding items for her daughter’s wedding crafts. If I remember right, previous to that it was her birdcage stand. Even earlier it was in the spot of her weaved macrame plant holder? The spot and the machine have been a feature of my whole life.
Looking through the pages of the manual marked, “Getting to know your machine,” and through the storage areas of this tabletop machine, I found many surprises. My aunt’s original married name before the uncle who was THE uncle, addresses I never knew, printed and signed on repair tickets, years that contradict. A mystery to solve. I’m sure there’s not much of a mystery actually, just pieces of a puzzle to put together. Questions for my mother. Clarifications. But another piece of my aunt to look forward to, rather than backward. Which is something nice for me. I miss her so much.