My Mum has just phoned me. She wanted to know of any bits and pieces in the house that I wanted to lay claim to for myself in the event of both of the old dears popping their clogs. It was a matter-of-fact question; we’d discussed the weekend, the weather, health, making dinner and washing machines. She tagged it onto the end, ‘Oh by the way Laura, I just wondered…….could you have a think darling?’
It was not a terribly easy conversation to be honest. I actually managed to pour a cup of coffee down my front while I was talking to her – in the most bizarre fashion. I just virtually threw it at myself, I didn’t even open my mouth or put the cup near it. Weird. Like some kind of frustrated toddler behaviour. Maybe I was expecting her to magically appear by my side and wipe me down with a towel.
Anyway, suffice to say, picturing a time where I lay claim to possessions which currently reside in the parent’s home is not one I really wish to ponder. Thinking about it makes my nose sting. But I do know, ultimately, that a handful of objects will be more precious to me than any monetary inheritance.
I am the youngest of three, and so my older brother and sister are also in the same predicament – finding those items which have at some point in their lives struck an emotional chord. Fortunately, from what I can gather, we have all placed sentiment in different things, which is a relief.
A few years ago, I found something at my parent’s house which for ever more, will remind me of my Mother. I asked my Mum if I could have them, and she looked a bit surprised and laughed but said yes. I’ll tell you what it is, and you may laugh too, but it’s a little bag of wooden clothes pegs. For years and years, she used them to hang out the washing until eventually, she upgraded to some plastic ones. But these little pegs bring me comfort. I live a long way from her and sometimes if I’m having a ‘moment’ and miss her, I refer to them.
They are weathered, worn and smooth and feel very soft. They remind me of her skin, fingers, hands. Whatever happens in the future, it’s the closest thing I will have to be able to recreate the feel of holding her hands, and that, will be worth more to me than anything.