The things we keep

A few years after my father-in-law passed away I saw his phone number on my husbands iPhone. I made a comment about him taking it off and he mumbled some words I didn’t catch. It’s 15 months after my mom’s passing and her name and address still hold a place in my contact list. How could I have been so insensitive? How could I not have realized there is a bittersweet comfort in seeing their name appear as we scroll through the family list?

Long before mama died, I picked up this little book called Things You Can Save…when you lose someone close to your heart. It’s not much on words but it’s full of colorful illustrations which are probably why I was drawn to it. It simplistic in its words as it suggests saving things we can “keep in a pocket or put in a locket”. But even simple words bring sweet memories to mind and curl the edges of my mouth into the faintest of smiles.

There are reminders of our parents scattered about our home. Some things were given to us before their passing and others were found when sorting out their belongings in the task of cleaning out their home.

Daddy died long before the others. Even though he was in poor health his death was unexpected and life seemed rushed as we prepared to travel to Texas for his funeral. It was awkward and hard in many ways. We didn’t go to his home or sort through family pictures. We went where we were directed and, at times, felt like visitors in this place that was never our home. What I’ve kept from him came from mama, who hadn’t been married to him for over 20 years. She had their yearbook from seminary and a handful of photos. She also gave me his copy of My Utmost for His Highest that had been given to him in 1964.

The effects of divorce continue to rob us even in death.

It’s mama’s second birthday absent from us on earth. I believe she has done nothing but celebrate since her promotion to glory and reunion with the saints gone on before her. Celebrating wasn’t one of mama’s strengths. She didn’t dance or have much of an ear for music but I like to imagine her twirling round and round with her full-throated laugh that we all loved.

All of our parents are in heaven now. Some of left us with boxes of slides, old photos, and super 8 home videos. Others have left us with few tangible things and difficult memories. All have left us wanting to cling to something to remind us of their presence and their mark on our lives.

What we’ve been left that we hold most dear is our hope in Jesus. Our parents persevered through multiple moves, cancer, divorce, the death of a child, of hardships we’ve never known. Through it, their faith stood firm. It’s what they wanted most to give us. It’s what we continue to keep.

SaveSave

More about Debby Hudson

Where do you find grace? Inside the church walls? Around the dinner table with your family? For years, grace was not much more than the prayer we said before meals or a biblical concept. Then I met a group of men who had, as we say, reached bottom. They welcomed me to Graceland. They showing me grace can be found in the darkest of places. I'm still searching and learning. I hope you'll want to come along.

16 thoughts on “The things we keep

  1. Stumbling into GRACE

    One day we will be with them Dancing in the fields of Grace … Prayers … .Susie

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      My mom was never a dancer, Susie, but I bet she’s dancing all the time in heaven. What a time that will be! xx

      Reply

  2. Annie Rim

    Love this, Debby. I have a pineapple salad bowl from my grandma. My mom got it for me as the siblings divided all of her last things and comments were made along the lines of “why would anyone want that?!” But I love it and every time we put it on the dinner table, I’m reminded of my grandma. But knowing she’s at peace, with Jesus? That’s the point right there. Thanks for this beautiful reminder.

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Those ‘things’ can only be special to family, Annie. What a fun reminder you have. Yes, we have peace in knowing and believing there is eternal peace.

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  3. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Debby,
    One of my treasures from my dad, was discovering in a book he had given me were his handwritten notes on a sermon that spoke to something I was struggling with at the time. Having something written in our loved one’s own handwriting is a treasure. My dad was an engineer so to see his block style printing just touched a special place in my heart. I treasure those notes and how the message spoke to me when I discovered them.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      I agree, Bev. There’s something about handwriting that is so personal. Maybe because it’s becoming rarer too. We have a lot from my father-in-law. He scribbled in the margins of every scrap of paper 🙂

      Reply

  4. Kit Tosello

    This is lovely, Debbie. I’ve had my mom’s favorite blouse and pajamas hanging in the back of my closet since she passed seven years ago. We just moved to another house so I had to decide…and I still wasn’t ready to let them go.

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    1. Debby Hudson

      There is no time limit on missing our loved ones is there Kit? What we hold on to will always be special.

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  5. debbieputman

    Keepsakes are very important. They bring back the things we miss the most about our loved ones. After my daughter passed away, I couldn’t hit “delete” on my phone. So I changed her address to Heaven, Streets of Gold. When I see her name in my phone now, it helps me remember she dances with joy as she meets with Jesus face to face.

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    1. Debby Hudson

      What a wonderful idea, Debbie. I’m glad it brings you such joy. One day we’ll all be dancing together.

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  6. Mama's Empty Nest

    I do have a lot of keepsakes from my parents and my hubby’s since all four of them have gone on to Glory. My dad was the last one to go and after 8 years, I still have his phone number in my cell phone contacts under “Dad.”

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      We didn’t have cell phones when my dad passed, Cindy, and so few things from him 🙁 But I’ve come to see how these seemingly small acts of a phone number in our contacts hold such meaning. So sweet, friend. xx

      Reply

  7. Barbie

    Beautiful. I still have both of my parents, although my mom is battling dementia right now. I know the day will come but I hope it’s way off in the future. Blessings!

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      I’m sorry to hear about your mom, Barbie. That is a very long goodbye. My in-law’s lived into their 80’s but it still felt too soon.

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  8. Brenda

    ((Debby)) Sweet way to memorialize your mother on her birthday. We’re blessed, indeed, by the hope of eternity. So thankful we’ll meet our loved ones again on the other side of glory and never be parted again. Lovely post today. ((Hug))

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Thank you Brenda. Yes, we have a hope and promise of glory.

      Reply

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