On the Gifts of a Sentimental Heart

About a year before my mother died, she told me that I wasn’t sentimental like she was, shaking her head sadly. I tried to disagree with her, but she didn’t like that I regularly clean out and take loads of things to the Goodwill. She was someone who saved any and everything that had the tiniest touch of sentimental value.  I finally began to convince her that maybe their was hope for me in her eyes when I told her that I had saved every letter and card she had ever sent to me. I tried to make her understand that I only saved the most special things that truly connected me to important memories or people. I think maybe she finally understood.

I love having a sentimental heart. It isn’t about living in the past or not letting go of people or things, but instead a way for me to remember all of the pieces of me, all of the precious experiences and important people who helped to shape the woman I am. It gives me the history of family, of friendship, of love, to call on when I forget or when I have lost my way. Having access to those memories makes me appreciate the many blessings – and challenges- I have had in my fifty-two years. It also gives me hope when I am going through a rough patch, and laughter when I am blue.

On my keychain is the crematorium tag from Mom’s ashes, to comfort me that I was with her until the end, and a dog bone charm to remind me of my sweet Doberman, Bailey. I keep the first feather that Dan and I found on a walk (a Native American belief that finding a feather in your way means that you are on the right path). I keep an angel (belonged to Dan’s Mom, GG), a Mary Poppins pin (from a friend- and…it’s me), and a Santa pin by a photo of my very special aunt. I keep a quote from my mentor on my music room door to make me always think of his guidance and lessons when I practice and teach. My jewelry box is filled with mementoes from childhood, first loves, great concerts, and my grandmother’s worry stone and buckeye that she carried for good luck. By my bedside is a special photo of my soul dog, Guinness. The top of Mom’s chest-of-drawers is covered with the special things that make me feel her close; her Happy Pill, her ‘Florida Flash’ license plate, one of her snowmen, our painting, and a favorite photo. I have an original post from the gazebo of my first home in Birmingham, the ‘Blue House’, that was a symbol of my freedom and strength after a difficult divorce. On top of it sits the wooden elephant that Mom always swore held a treasure….and the knife marks from where she tried to cut into it when times got really tough to see if that treasure was there to save us.

So many things that would seem silly or inconsequential to anyone else, but to me…to me they hold the magic of memories. I am excited to move forward in life and make new memories, have exciting new adventures…but I never want to forget how I came to this place and who helped me to get here. I want to remember who and what I loved and lost, so that I will truly appreciate what I have now and remember what is most important in life. You can call me silly, and I won’t be offended. I am grateful for my soft and sentimental heart, with its special memories tucked into every nook and cranny. There is always room for more of everything- more memories, more laughter, and more love.

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