Almost everyone that comes in our home is unaware of all the things I keep. In our back room that is now consumed with toys, there is a large blue storage container. It is an unspoken understanding between my husband and I that this container stays there and is never to be tossed out. In the garage, on a shelf near our washer and dryer is a red, black and white striped prayer monkey sock. In our bedroom on a nightstand you would see a picture frame with a picture inside that almost seems out of place. The picture is of myself when I was younger and two friends from a birthday. Hidden in the corner of our closet in our bedroom you would find a purse. Inside this purse is a pair of glasses, a cell phone, head scarf, “cancer sucks” pins and a watch stopped at the exact moment my world froze. In our bathroom you would see jewelry hanging on the back door. Necklaces, bracelets and rings all mixed in with my jewelry. 

To the naked eye, most of these things would go unnoticed, unseen and unimportant. However, to me it’s a collection of all the things I keep. All the things I have left of her from her life and her death. I keep the storage container closed tight so that her clothes still smell of her perfume. I charge the cell phone at times to look at her final text messages. When I see the pictures she took on her cell phone, it’s almost as if for a split second I can see the world through her eyes one last time. The scarf she wore on her sweet, bald head and it was her favorite. The watch was the very watch she was wearing the day she passed away. The hospital kindly sent it to me a few days later along with her purse. The picture frame with picture that seems so out of place, it was the picture she had by her bedside. Her favorite picture of me.

To some, these things might seem insignificant, odd and out of place. Had you asked me what sentimental value I would find in a pair of sunglasses three years ago, I would have laughed. For me – right now in this journey, grief has caused those things to mean something to me. They help me step into her world; they help me pull myself together when I am falling apart. More importantly they help me to feel like a piece of her is still with me in every corner of our house. 

feature image source – jamesAnn photography

Nikki Pennington

Nikki is a stay at home mom to three, high spirited boys. Three years ago she became a motherless daughter after losing her own mom to terminal brain cancer. When she is not playing the role of referee for the boys, she spends her days trying to encourage and inspire others that are on the grief journey. Read more from Nikki on her blog: