She couldn’t walk very well and called me over to the couch.
I sat near and she whispered, “I don’t want anyone to have the photos. Take the frames down and take what you want.”
I looked at her and said, “No, Grandma. I don’t want to take your photos”.
She put her hand on top of mine and said, “I don’t have any use for them anymore. Take them. Then I want you to go to my room and take my jewelry.”
She removed her hand then sat back and looked away from me, toward the television, with tears in her eyes. She didn’t want to discuss it further. I knew why. If I didn’t take them other family members would ultimately fight over the rights to them.
I looked up at the walls filled with years of photographs, most black and white, of men in uniform in their youth, of her as a baby, her mother, father, siblings, aunts, uncles, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. Her jewelry was another story. I didn’t need to go into her room to know the secrets of her treasure chest. Her children had been gifting her jewelry for years and she was never seen without a bauble of some kind.
But it felt wrong though and I couldn’t do it. She never brought it up again. I kept her stories instead. They were more valuable than anything she owned.
What’s in ones heart can never be taken.