Memento Mori

In addition to the box of ashes in my family room, and the unkempt dusty pile of cards tied with ribbon, a padded manila envelope containing a pink blanket, and other hospital detritus and paraphernalia, I have:

-- a lilac bush (gift)
-- a tree in a park (gift)
-- a bracelet
-- hopefully this year, a bench in a local, green setting

Of course I need none of this to remember that my daughter died, but sometimes I like the feeling of tending to something, or having something physical to look at.  Sometimes I just appreciate the bolt of remembrance at an odd time, like standing in line at the grocery store and finding myself studying my bracelet.  Other times I'm rather stunned that I've been watering the lilac for a week and not really thought about the back story, or driven by the park without a glance at the tree, or completely forgotten about the deeper purpose of the jewelery on my wrist and worn it like one would an old watch.

When I first began wearing my bracelet, I thought it was so big, so shiny that it would be impossible not to notice it every waking minute.  I can now go days without realizing I'm wearing it.  It's become a part of me, like the watch or the wedding band, that's just there.  The lilac is now a small bush, but I found myself this week paying far more attention to what kind of pansies I'm going to plant on the corner in front of it this fall.  I don't think it's forgetting, nor do I think it's accepting.  I think it's a matter of my life encircling these objects, and my grief becoming an everyday, commonplace downward glance.  

I tried to think of a simile for how I'm growing used to the strangeness of my grief and the momentoes that litter my life -- a missing limb?  An extra digit?  and the first thing that sprung to my mind was the calmness with which I moved through the baby flotsam of Bella's life, until I was nonplussed to discover a sippy in my purse, or an ABC magnet on my laundry machine.  I guess it's just like this.  What are now everyday objects occasionally pierce my consciousness to remind me of a daughter, and how the routines and symbols of my life have changed around them both.

Whadya you got?