I’ve gotten used to the white dishes with the tiny blue flowers in the kitchen cupboard and I’m okay with the cast iron skillet of which she’s surely cooked thousands of meals. It’s broken-in and we both know, cast iron skillets like that are hard to find.
The chandelier in the living room still casts light as brightly as when her hands polished it. On each end of the fireplace mantle her pillar candles with ribbon bands still cozy up to two busts of Victorian ladies with real feathers in their hat. It doesn’t bother me anymore that photo of her as a young girl or the one of her sitting on the couch surrounded by all the dolls she and you collected. I hardly notice them tucked away as they are in a corner on that small antique table that you say she loved. I’ve gotten used to all the paintings she did that hang on every living room wall. I’ve even grown fond of the one in our bedroom of the ballerina at her vanity and being a cat lover all those paintings showcasing various cats that you and she have had over the years.
My clothes occupy the same space in the dresser as did hers and hang in the closet on hangers she must have used as well. And I can’t help but wonder if she ever slid open the closet door, as I do, to retrieve one of your old long-sleeved white shirts to wear to bed.
It took me a few years, but I finally asserted myself and asked you to pack away those porcelain tragedy masks that she hung on every kitchen wall and in the hall because I couldn’t bear the blank eyes that seemed to stare and follow me from room to room. If only I could get you to toss those old check registers that bear her handwriting, those weathered greeting cards from friends and acquaintances I will never know, the ragged pot holders and dish towels and countless other things that you hold onto from the past.