Grief surprises you.
Just when you think you are doing fine – it hits you right between the eyes.
Like today, as Jan and I were casually walking through an antique store in Jamesport, Missouri.
I was just wandering along looking at things – when I saw Grandma’s china.
Well – it wasn’t Grandma’s exact china – but a set that was identical.
I’ve always loved Grandma’s china. It was a beautiful pattern with tiny blue flowers – and there it was staring at me.
On a shelf at the antique store.
With a sign that read 50% off.
I gasped and stopped so suddenly that Jan almost ran into me.
“It’s Grandma’s china! On sale! Well – not exactly Grandma’s china – but it looks just like it!” I said in a rush.
Jan just looked at me quizzically.
“Maybe I should get a cup and saucer to put in my china hutch to remember Grandma by? But then again – it isn’t really my Grandma’s china is it?”
Just then I spotted a gravy boat in the same set and continued without pausing for breath, ” A gravy boat! I remember when Grandma first got the set and used a gravy boat at Christmas. It was the first time I ever saw a gravy boat. I loved it!”
And then it hit.
I teared up and broke down right there in the front of the china display in the middle of a crowded antique store.
I saw Grandma making mashed potatoes and filling her beautiful gravy boat with her homemade gravy and placing it on the dining room table in front of me.
And I cried.
Mashed potatoes and gravy pack a powerful emotional connection.
Boy did people clear out of that section of the store fast! You could almost hear their thoughts, “Emotional melt-down in aisle 3 – please clear the area!”
I headed off to another section of the store and stared at a meaningless display of cameras and tried to pull myself together, leaving my poor husband staring after me in confusion.
“Does she want me to buy the cup and saucer?
Or am I supposed to buy the gravy boat?
Or neither because it isn’t actually her Grandma’s china?
And where did she go anyway?”
Bless his heart.
As I stood staring at the vintage Brownie cameras I realized that down deep – it wasn’t the cup or the saucer or the gravy boat I wanted.
It was Grandma.
And no – we didn’t buy any china today. I’m sure I’ll see that pattern again if I change my mind.
But we will definitely be having having mashed potatoes for lunch tomorrow.
With homemade gravy.
And I’ll remember Grandma.