Grief Purse

This spring and fall mark the 5th anniversary of the deaths of my parents.  Sometime between their deaths, I was in Sioux Falls and I bought a rather fancy Coach purse. It was a total splurge.

I am not the sort of person who has lots of shoes and purses. It don’t care if my purse matches anything else I am wearing.  I just use the same purse until it wears out, and then I get another one. I go more for utility than style.

I put the new purse in the closet back in 2014, in the fancy cotton storage bag that it came in, and didn’t think about it again until this spring when I needed a bigger purse to take on a trip in lieu of a brief case.  My current purse, a burgundy one, was a little too small, and I thought about the other purse in the closet. I have used it ever since, retiring the burgundy one in the closet.  My son saw the new purse when we visited him over Memorial Day. He said “Oh, that is your grief purse. You bought it when Grandma died. I wondered when you would use it.”

Well, I never thought about it like that, but I think he may have something there. I have been thinking a bit more about my parents than usual, and I suppose my not using this purse for 5 years  has some deeper meaning.  I am glad my son is so observant.

What do you have that is associated with the memory of another person or persons?

20 thoughts on “Grief Purse”

  1. Interesting, Renee. The fall that my dad was dying (2006), I temporarily moved in with my folks for what ended up being two months. I treated myself to a pair of black suede flats from an upscale shoe store that was still in downtown Marshalltown, a totally uncharacteristic purchase. I have worn them till they are almost falling apart, but they are my “comfort shoes”, and I’ll still keep them a while longer.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Years ago I bought a pair of grey cowboy boots to wear to Kelly’s Grandmothers funeral. I didn’t really have any dressy shoes at the time so I needed something. And those shoes were always remembered as the ones I bought for her funeral.

    I had a jacket that I wore in winter for years. It was just a nylon, lined, jacket; nothing special. It came with a tractor once upon a time; the dealer had his name on the back and it fit well and was comfortable and just the right weight for 90% of winter weather and I had it for a long long time.
    One day I had misplaced it and commented to a friend that I couldn’t find my jacket. And he said “You mean that old, crappy one?” and that was it; it was tainted. I couldn’t look at it anymore without hearing him calling it old and crappy looking. I couldn’t wear it anymore. And I still haven’t found a decent replacement that I like as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I have my Grandpa’s Stetson hat. It was the last one he bought, but he always wore one—the “good one,” a new unstained and kept in the box for Sunday wear, and the “everyday” one which caught the abuse of daily life. After he died, we would wear that old one around the house and part of the bum costume that because our Halloween wear.

    I still have the Good One which smells of his hair oil and has a small cigarette ash fingerprint on it. He died in November, 1964. Now and then, on a difficult “no body loves me” day, I take it down from its peg and have a sniff. Tim says it is worth about $100.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I have my mother’s faux fur coat. It has a label that says Boralba, which was a brand name of a faux fur in the 50’s and 60’s. Among the things I found when we were cleaning our my mother’s apartment was the receipt for the coat, bought at Albrecht’s. I think it cost a couple of hundred dollars, which was a lot at the time it was purchased.

    At one point I found out that the Minnesota History Center was looking for a coat of that material for their collection. I e-mailed them to offer the coat, but they chose someone else’s.

    For a long time the coat had a cigarette smoke smell, as did a lot of stuff from my mom’s place. I can’t smell it anymore, though. It was a rather comforting smell.

    I don’t remember making any particular purchases when she died, but I like the concept of a grief purse. I’m impressed that your son made that connection, Renee.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. My friend, Albina, died in 1981 after a short battle with colon cancer. I went to the estate sale her daughters held to see if I could find something to remember her by. The item I picked out was a stainless steel pot with a heavy bottom. To this day, it’s my favorite pot, and I think of Albina every single time I use it, at least a couple of time a week.

    Albina was from Latvia. Traditional Latvian food played a major part in her family’s celebrations to which we were often invited. It’s fitting that most of my memories of Albina revolve around food and all the vigorous celebration of life that is so typical of that culture.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Jon is husband’s best friend. He’s a dear, level headed, and no-nonsense man of Finnish descent. He and his wife, Linda, are the closest we have to family in the US. For many, many years we celebrated Easter, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve with them.

    On April 15th of this year, Jon was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He’s now on hospice care at home. We visit once a week to talk, give him a haircut, and offer moral support to Linda. Yesterday we visited, and Hans once again cut Jon’s hair. Linda and I were chatting on the couch when the guys returned from the back patio where the haircut had taken place. “Well” Jon announced with a big smile, “I’ve just sold my car.” Hans smiling, but looking slightly overwhelmed beside him.

    Jon is a car guy. A fastidious one. His 2015 Toyota Avalon with 34,000 miles on it is spotless, has every bell and whistle they come with, and has been meticulously maintained. There’s no doubt in my mind that this car will be so much more than transportation to Hans.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You can bet on that. When Lou’s BFF, Bill died this spring, Lou got Bill’s 1999 650 BMW motorcycle. It has never been lavished with such car and motor oil.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I just thought of another thing that makes me think of someone. Bill’s wife was named Dode (short for Dorothy). Dode died of uterine cancer in 2006. It was a terrible loss. She was one of the best people, ever. After she died, Bill asked us to come retrieve her gardening perrenials. He was not a gardener and did not know how to care for them. We brought home irises, a bird bath, and a yellow rose. It is an antique cultivar yellow bush rose. It just finished blooming. That bush is now 6-7 feet high and very wide.

        Lou and I, just last week, went out back to admire this bush which was loaded heavy with fragrant roses. We both commented that we think Dode lives in that bush now.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. I am using my mothers’s good china for everyday dishes, even putting them in the dishwasher. I think that using them, even if they break or degrade, is the best thing to do with them as it gives me good memories of her now. They wouldn’t mean the same thing to my children after i am gone, so i am using them up. Maybe they will do the same with my good china.


  8. I’ve been thinking all day about what thing Husband or I have from around son Joel’s dying, and finally realized: a spiral blank book that was lying around when Joel died, and I grabbed it to use for a journal at the wake in our back yard, where his friends wrote messages. Then at the memorial for guests to sign. Then I started stuffing it with written memories from people, poems and quotes – anything I wanted to save and remember. It has a copy of the eulogies, a list of who received all his major possessions, what we did on various anniversaries of his passing, helpful things people told us… I believe if there were an emergency evacuation here, I would grab it even before the photo albums.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I don’t have much; I inherited a non sentimental streak from my mother. But I do have a small music box/ powder container from my one grandmother. It never had any powder in it but it does play a sweet little melody. And I have my other grandmother”s (Nana’s) sewing basket. My father gave me a key ring once, bear claw on silver; he always thought the bear was my totem. I guess I have to agree. I can’t envision I’ll ever get rid of that keychain.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. My mom, as she’s downsized, keeps offering things to us kids. We’ve all had the chance, several times now, to take thing that we want. It’s kinda gotten to the point we don’t really *want* anything any more…
    she did a lot of woodcarving but how many wood figurines can you really take?
    I did tell her once that I have memories of a salt and pepper shaker from when I was growing up. Next time I was there she gave them to me. They aren’t anything special, they’re just a memory trigger, but she didn’t care and she says no one else will care, so there ya go.
    She also divided up Dads things. I have a few things.
    But on the farm, dad did so much, I think of him whenever I change a tire or look at things he built or remember him showing me how to dig a post hole.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. With Kelly folks, as they got older and their health declined, at Christmas we’d look at potential gifts for them and we couldn’t help but think, “we’re going to get this back soon”… it was kinda funny and sad at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.