Unsolicited Advice - Grief

The Japanese mother of two teenage daughters that she lost to drowning in our lake took to wearing her daughter's clothing.

My friend in her grief after her Dad's passing ingested a bottle of medication prescribed for the old man. 

I took to smoking my Mom's cigarettes, even though I had given up rolling cigarettes with Drum tobacco in my teens after a humiliating introduction to asanas, an aspect of yoga. 

I took to drinking my Mom's coffee, even though I had given up coffee decades ago because I drank too many refills with too much sugar when I lived in New York City on very little income in my twenties. 

I took to playing Patience with my Mom's cards after her unexpected passing, just like she did, with coffee near, cigarette in one hand, pen stuck behind one ear, crossword puzzle near, while I was in the process of having to dissolve my parent's household. I neglected to collect my Mom's set of old, funky cards and ended up having to buy a new set with which I played my own version of Solitaire for hours in to the early mornings - for several years.

I kept odd items of their remains, such as my Mom's ugly coffee can, even though I only started to drink coffee regularly years later after my Dad's passing.

I kept their antique, oriental, deep red carpets, even though they were cumbersome to transport and I hate to vacuum ever since I had to as a child. I kept them despite the color red not fitting in my home. I prefer the color purple. 

I kept my Mom's festive green Irish coffee set used only on high holidays, even though I am not a fan of green anything. The set never fails to remind me of my childhood, of memories more the half a century ago.

I kept my Mom's dad silver soup spoon engraved with the family name. I love it and use it daily. Maybe the only object that reminds me of my lineage from my Mom's side.

I kept a few of my Mom's flannel night gowns, even though I tend to sleep naked and consider them ugly. They were cozy, soft and warm I rediscovered, I wore them and still keep what is left for cleaning my home.

My unsolicited advice: Follow your heart - with a sense of discernment. Grief as you must, but be gentle with yourself.

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