I’ve never had a home office. My home is small, and I’ve shared it for many years with my mother, who was not well. When she died at the end of last year, the house suddenly felt cavernous. Slowly, I’ve become accustom to the quiet and the idea of having a home office. Of all the places I could put it, her room was the obvious choice.
It’s been easier than I expected to claim the space as my own because I know how happy it would make her to know I am writing in her room, which my niece and nephew still call “Grandma’s room.” I pray they never stop calling it that.
However, there have been moments the task of going through my mother’s things overwhelmed me, flattened me to the ground, and left me feeling like grief had me by my throat. Last night was one of those moments. My mother was a Presbyterian minister, and I found her sermons, over thirty years’ worth crumbled and jammed into plastic crates. They were handwritten or printed on everything from yellowed mimeograph to crisp copier paper. She’d scribbled last minute notes in the margins. More than her clothes, more than her possessions, her words made me crumble. Whether written or spoken, a person’s words are the closest someone can ever be to another person’s thoughts and who he or she really is at the core. It’s too hard for me yet to be reminded of my mother’s thoughts. She was closer to God and more deeply thoughtful than I could ever hope to be.
This has made me think of my own mortality. Maybe too I am preoccupied with it because the last few months my life has been filled with probate, wills, life insurance, and beneficiaries. Being surrounded with those things, I can’t help but worry what will happen when I die. Someday, I will have to leave my niece and nephew with the task I now bear for my mother. I pray it is a long time from now because I want the honor of watching them grow up into the man and woman God wants them to be. But when I do pass away, what will break them?
I pray nothing brings them sorrow, but if something does, may it be my words. I’m an author. When I die, I will leave millions of words behind. When my dear ones are ready, I hope they will read my books again and laugh at what a quirky imagination I had.
Last night, I only read one paragraph, one paragraph of one sermon, and I had to stop. But someday, I will retype all of her sermons and put them in a book if only for myself and my family. Just not yet.