“the finnish wood carvings, ” my sweet momma would answer when asked what she wanted in her little assisted living apartment, a place she would occupy without my dad, some time after he died. those finely carved statues accompanied her from new york to florida, house to house, and, finally to her small apartment. she cherished them and spent long hours deciding to whom she would give each one. the list in many notebooks and on many scraps of paper showed that she pondered each recipient’s personality and interests before deciding on a gift choice; these wood carvings were important and each was later given with decades of love. placed on an equally significant-to-her live-edge wooden shelf in her tiny living room, they seemed to represent comfort to her, something that spanned the years, something that, in their familiarity, gave her a sense of security. a piece of what-had-been-home in this new home.
when you walked down the hall in eileen and duke’s home, just in front of you before you turned in to their master bedroom was this painting. duke was an amazing artist, a painter and sculptor with an enormous collection of work. when we were helping 20 move his momma eileen into her assisted living apartment a few weeks ago, this painting beckoned me as something that might be a familiar sight in her new unfamiliar home. as we placed other artwork on the wall, i kept thinking about this painting that we had left in their home and i nagged 20 about it. i felt it could be placed so that the moment that eileen stepped into her new bedroom it would be ahead of her, before she turned to head to her bed. jogging her memory of the home she and duke had made together, a touch of comfort for her. 20 picked it up later that night and the day his momma moved in we hung the painting. this sunny, but somewhat austere space, suddenly was lifted to a different level. the photographs of duke and eileen in the kitchen, the familiar prints in the living room, this painting in the bedroom. all touchstones from home in this new home.
there are certain things i like to have around me. things that even in times of uncertainty give me a sense of footing. were i to pare down there are items that would definitely make the cut, unlikely choices maybe, but things that bring me solace, things that alleviate angst, things that gladden my heart. what are yours?