I enter the house and the smell of disuse and dried flowers greets us as I look around the neat piles stacked along in clumps by the walls. How can I ch
ose what to bring from your home to enhance my own? You generously gesture to items and together we imagine the mini-loaves of sweetbreads you once made and that I can now make to share with friends and neighbors. An elegant glass and copper coffee decanter will sit on my table to warm my guests just as they used to on yours. I will teach my children to polish the lovely silver set you’ve placed in my hands. I don’t yet know who I will invite to eat off of this gorgeous china, but I look forward to finding recipes worthy to fill it and wonder what prayers will be said each time it is used. Your great-granddaughter Katie picks her way through your home, filling a basket with floral arrangements, and even though you had four boys and only one girl, your home is filled with traces of femininity. Sydney loads up a tiny sleigh with gift-wrapped parcels, and I think of all the children who have been loved through these rooms. Caleb plays happily with a small wagon of blocks, and I marvel at your grandmotherly insight, always ready to accommodate and entertain. As we sort through your things, collections amassed over a lifetime, is it difficult for you? Are you content, nostalgic, saddened? All of your children, save one, will come home next week to love you and your dear husband. They will put aside political differences, dwell on their love of you and reminisce about their childhood and adventures they have had on the road. They will enjoy red noodles and other family favorites, they will miss Greg as they do every year. But this meeting will not take place in your home, for you have had to begin sorting and emptying it out to live safely, dependent on your oldest son’s love. He gives it willingly, just as you taught him to long ago. I pray that though you are leaving behind your home, generously sharing before you sell, that God will shower you with His greatest blessings. I know He has already given you a great store of love and a hospitable heart. I praise God that you are my husband’s grandmother and have taught so many generations about how to love. I thank God you accepted me and loved me when Jeff married me, grandmotherless girl that I am.