- R.C.CH. either of two prayers in the Canon of the Mass, one for the living and one for the dead, beginning “Memento”
- anything serving as a reminder or warning
- a souvenir
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Watch for a Sign
Even before getting out of bed this morning, among other things, I was thinking about my new blog. Since most of the "little signs" I have posted and some others I have in mind, have happened over a span of years, would I, in time, run out of things to write? Was I mistaken in thinking that sharing my experiences would, in some way be helpful or encouraging to others? Perhaps, my posts were only interesting to me, since they are my own experiences. If I should run out of signs, and note no new ones, might that may be a sign that I should discontinue the blog? I needed to watch for often overlooked little signs. I thought that only time would tell.
I signed on (no pun intended) to the Internet with my morning cup of tea, and a Facebook message to me from Cheryl, my fiance's cousin in Florida was my little sign for the day.
My fiance's aunt passed away in March, and I miss her very, very much. She was in her late eighties but had a youthful spirit and a wonderful sense of humor, despite having been through difficult times in her life. She was one of the kindest, most generous people I could ever know, and I was privileged to be her friend. We spoke on the phone every day, and we would call one another easily to share even little things that meant something to either of us.
An aunt and nephew could not have been more dedicated and loving toward one another than Aunt Carmela and Donald. She was very proud not only of his high professional and academic achievements but of his sincerity and goodness of character. He was a great help to her, especially in later years, and when he would assist her with a difficult matter or problem, she would often say to me, "Donald is so darn smart!" Knowing that Donald enjoyed home-cooked meals, one of her favorite ways of being kind to him was to invite him over for dinner. I always looked forward to the three of us being together for our birthdays, Christmas and New Year's Day.
It was difficult for both of us to go back to her apartment where we had shared so many memories. Donald took the task with the seriousness and thoughtfulness it deserved, and I helped him go through Aunt Carmela's belongings. We did with them what Donald thought she would have wanted. Aunt Carmela would regularly make donations to the Association for the Advancement of the Blind and Retarded, and so we set aside appropriate items for them. Knowing that I enjoyed vintage clothes, over the years she had given me many beautiful outfits she had from the 1950's, and so Donald offered to me any of the clothing I wished to keep and he left it to me to do what I thought best with the rest. It was important to him that certain people who cared very much for his aunt and whom she loved very much would be given something special by which to remember her. Her niece, Cheryl who lives in Florida, is one of these special people.
Over the months, we talked about what would be the best memento to send to Donald's cousin, Cheryl. Donald had been thinking that Cheryl might like to have a nice piece of jewelry her aunt had worn, but Aunt Carmela had so many lovely things, jewelry boxes filled with brooches, necklaces, bracelets and other costume jewelry, that it was difficult to choose. I didn't know what kind of jewelry she preferred, and Donald didn't know what to suggest. One day, for some reason, I thought of a particular piece of jewelry for Cheryl. I showed Donald an unusual, round watch pendant, silver tone and on a chain to be worn around the neck. It was in it's original blue, branded, hinged case. He opened the case, and said right away that this was to be the keepsake for Cheryl from Aunt Carmela, and he sent it to her from my house the week before Christmas.
Today, New Year's Day, I signed on to Facebook and saw a message from Cheryl acknowledging that she had received the pendant. Of all the pieces of jewelry she had and could have taken with her, coincidentally Aunt Carmela had worn this very piece when she visited with her in Florida! She did not wear it as her regular watch and, in fact, I don't recall ever seeing her wear it, but Cheryl did. I don't think she would mind my posting here her note to me on Facebook:
"Hi Joan, I hope your Holidays are magical and that you and Donald and your Family are enjoying this time. I plan on calling Donald as soon as I get a minute to chat,but would you be so kind to let him know his thoughful package arrived. I will cherish it forever. My Aunt Carmela wore it often, but also brought it down to Florida on her last trip. I will invision her in my home with it adorning her neck. I am going to go through my pictures to see if I can find one with her wearing it. That would really make it special. Have a healthy, happy New Years and send my love to my cousin."
I can't help but think that Aunt Carmela wanted Cheryl to have her watch pendant, and that choosing it for her was somehow inspired. I am also encouraged to continue posting "little signs" to my blog. Like the watch, this sign was timely.
P.S. While writing this post, I looked up on Google the word "memento". First to pop up was YourDictionary.com. I found the first definition interesting, since I had thought that "souvenir" was the more common meaning.
me·mento (mə men′tō)
Commemoration of the faithful departed, after the Consecration of the Mass. In the Roman Canon, the Memento is always made silently, after the brief announcement, "Remember, Lord, those who have died and have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, especially those for whom we now pray."