The Things that She Loved and Held Dear to Her Heart

“The things that I love and hold dear to my heart are just borrowed, they’re not mine at all,” the song by Dottie Rambo states. I had tears as I was cleaning out mother’s closet this morning and came across things that she loved and held dear to her heart through the years. I found mother’s purse tucked away neatly in the back of her closet. It was just as she used it over seven years ago when the suffered a stroke and life for her changed forever. I sat down to look in the purse. A woman’s purse can say a lot about her.

Along with the usual wrinkled tissue, I found a card for the grocery store. In the purse was her wallet. Part of the latch had broken and she had tied it together with red string. Looking in the wallet I found no credit card, because Mama never owned one. She paid as she went, by cash or by check. I found an identification card. No driver’s license, because Mama never learned to drive. I found the pictures she had cherished that were current and up-to-date when she put them in the plastic sleeves for safe-keeping. One by one I flipped through the pictures as they took me back in time. Those grandchildren are grown and married now with children and grandchildren of their own. She has carried them close to her heart for many years.

Opening the compartment that held her bills, I found two things that meant a lot to her. She had saved these treasures for years, two one dollar bills. Neatly printed on the end of one was, “Mama gave it to me.” On the other bill was written, “Jessie gave it to me 1975.” There may have been times when she could have used them, but nothing was paid with those bills. You see, they were precious because someone she loved dearly, her mother and sister, had given them to her. Looking on through the wallet I found another couple of dollars bills, and folded in half a little deeper behind was a twenty-dollar bill. For years that money has stayed in her billfold, untouched, unharmed, unspent. And right in the center of her wallet where it could easily be seen was a picture. It was not just any picture, but a picture of the man she married and loved for 55 years.

The things that Mama loved and held dear to her heart were just borrowed for a time. My generation, or the next, may not treasure that wallet as she did. It could easily end up in a garbage can, or on the shelf at a thrift store, but somehow that old wallet holds a lot of memories and makes one stop and think of just how precious those are we love and hold dear to our heart.

Additional note: Mother, Eulala Williams, suffered a stroke in 2003, and has lived in our home since that time. We look forward to celebrating her 100th birthday on June 11, 2011.