Harry is moving his company from one city to another this next week. In preparation he is getting rid of lots of stuff and consolidating his life once again down to the essentials. He’s brought over a piece of furniture here and there and today I brought in three precious boxes into my house. The tree ornaments his mother had collected over the years. She died several years ago in her 50’s of a rare disease called Picks.
Harry loved his mother so much. When he talks about her he tears up every time. They had a special bond. He grew up in a house much like the new TV series The Goldbergs except they weren’t jewish. Lots of yelling and cussing, but also lots of love. Harry and I sit and watch that show and he’ll laugh and say, “That was my mom!” She was a buxom red-head with a beautiful, big smile and crystal blue eyes just like my Harry.
He told me yesterday with tears in his eyes how he had to make the decision to move her from an assisted living home into a medical facility as her disease progressed. Remembered what an agonizing decision that was for him, how expensive, how short-lived because she died soon after the move.
I’m so sorry that I never got to meet her. Harry is now a 44 year-old orphan because his dad died just a short time before his mom from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Harry often remarks to me about how much his dad loved his mom and how they kissed all the time. He said they fought hard, but they loved each other very much. I think he’s been looking for a love that resembles his parents his entire life.
I carried the boxes into the house, lifted the cover off the first box and got a glimpse into history. It smelled of old tissue paper and dust and I was impressed at how carefully each ornament was wrapped. Harry told me she took a week to decorate the tree every year and had to make sure each ornament was in its perfect spot. He said every year she would take Harry to a special store and choose one carefully selected new ornament and after Christmas she’d go back and buy a whole bunch on sale. But I got from these stories how precious a memory these were to him and to her. And here they all were in my house. In soon to be our house. Mostly collectibles, some handmade, some obviously expensive. I was so honored that Harry entrusted them to me. And I feel like I got to experience a little bit of her even though she’s no longer here and that makes me feel good.
Added to them is the ornament I bought Harry last year to commemorate our first together. Hand-blown Waterford crystal. And now all of these memories on the tree will be blended together and will make this Christmas even more precious to both of us.