Here’s all the jewelry you grew up viewing and admiring on the women whom had the most impact in your life. Now pick out your favorite pieces. Go!
Woof. I never know what to expect with this whole experience of my Mother no longer being here. Going through a loved one’s things can be difficult, emotional, or straight up weird. Sometimes all three at once.
Earlier this week as I was cleaning out my Mom’s vanity with my Dad and said “She would just have a fit knowing we’re going through all her things.” My Mother was warm and welcoming but also an insanely private person despite having 5 children, aka constantly surrounding by people. Apart from personal care and fashion, she also had notebooks upon notebooks of her personal thoughts, prayers, and dreams.
My Dad, bless his heart, has been trying to get my two sisters and I all three together at his house to go through all the of jewelry my Mother had. I am going to give a few tips on how we went through everything and then show you a few pieces I got.
1. First thing we did is get everything out of the jewelry boxes and storage containers. It is much easier to go through things if you can see everything. Here is video of how much there really was. Although my Mother had a lot of jewelry, not many items were considered “precious” despite many being precious-to-us. (Some families going through jewelry may want to get certain items appraised.)
2. Next what we did was take away things we thought were not things we’d be interested at all. These were newer pieces we didn’t remember our Mom wearing very much, things that were too specific style wise, or too commercial looking. Then we put aside the items that had the most memories, we saw her wear the most, or the item just screamed “Carole Walker!”
3. After we did most of the sorting, we went back and forth about what we liked the most. I reminded my sisters, “Maybe some of this stuff isn’t our style now, but it might be one day.” I zoned in on the things that spoke to me the most regardless of what was “in” and came away with several things. I encouraged each sister to take the things they really wanted in the moment that each one was “hemming and hawing”. One sister wanted my Mother’s wedding ring and the other wanted her locket with pictures of her and my Dad.
Now I’ll share what pieces I took home.
Can you tell I love gold tone earrings? I can never say no to simple studs. The black beaded necklace was one thing that I remember being briefly “in” again when I was going through a hipster stage right after high school. So I grabbed it because it reminded me of those days when I would frequently borrow my Mom’s jewelry. The square metal and stone earrings remind me of how distinct my Mom always was with her accessories. Although I’m not a boho-chic girl, I couldn’t leave these behind. Maybe someday a daughter of my own will be and she’ll love them. The dangle chain earrings are just so me and the half oval hoops are as boho as I can pull off.
Mom wore so many shades or green and blue. Turquoise was perfect for her, I *think* I got this bracelet for her in Mexico. I could be totally wrong about the origins, but this is something I remember her frequently wearing. As I feel the cool large beads it reminds me of her warm plump hands and beautiful nails. I remember sitting at her dining room table and at tough times she would grab my hand and say “Carrie, I really think everything’s going to work out for you.” Then she would undoubtedly pray with me. And you know what? Everything did work out for me.
The funny thing about this is I found it earlier this week when I was having lunch with my Dad. I said “Oh, I thought Mom had already given this to me. I’ll have to check my jewelry box and if it’s not there I think this one is mine.” Well of course I forgot to check between then and when my sisters and I were meeting up there. I found it again as we were going through things and told my sisters the same thing. Well lo and behold, I came across another one just minutes later! Now it seemed that Mom had a plan for these heart brooches. I said “Okay, I think Mom was intending for each of us to get one of these. I’ll check my jewelry box as soon as I get home and report back to you.” Above is the picture I texted my sisters after finding this in my jewelry box. Our Mother had three of these hearts and was planning on giving one to each of us, which makes this even more special. She just gave me mine a little early.
This little ring actually fits my finger! Hooray! I couldn’t hardly believe it but there it is. I never dreamed I’d have another diamond ring anytime soon. I’d gladly trade it for it’s former owner but alas, here I am with this ring. I believe this ring is my Granny’s (grandma on my Dad’s side) from her second and most definitely happier marriage.
Lastly, this watch was handed down to my Mother from…someone older than her? Okay, I don’t really know, of course it was someone older, I just don’t know which side of the family. I remember sneaking into my Mom’s room and snooping through her dresser. I used to open this little orange bag and look through all the treasures. I marveled at the loose diamonds (we’re still looking for those) and this beautiful watch. I was always so careful to put everything back. I would sit, admire, and imagine what life would go with something so elegant. (The answer little Carrie, is whatever life you want.) I will be getting a band to secure it because unfortunately it did not come with one. My cousin works at a custom jewelry store called Johnson Jeweler in Woodbury, MN and I’m sure she’ll have some suggestions of what can be done. We will likely also get a few other things repaired and resized there.
Tomorrow, June 8th, is the one year anniversary of my Mother’s death. I’m doing pretty well but I don’t know what to expect for tomorrow. My whole family will be altogether for the first time since Christmas and viewing her newly installed headstone for the first time. As I was having a tearful moment…okay fine…complete waterworks mid-writing this post, I told my husband “This is all just stuff, it has no meaning until you assign it. I’d give it all away if I could have her back.” He reminded me, yes it’s just stuff, but having these things will give me bright moments to remember her and they’ll become even more special to share when we have kids.
I needed that reminder in my bitter moment, that someday they will carry the memories.
Do you have anything special to you from a living or passed loved one? What things do you hope to pass on to your kids or loved ones someday as a special gift?