Going through my mom’s stuff is weird. My stuff? My mom’s stuff.

I don’t know, but I’m going through a lot of stuff, and it’s weird. Mostly because I have to hold up every item and think to myself, “Do I want this?” It feels like I’m looting her. I hold up a necklace, look in the mirror. If I like it, I keep it. If I don’t (and it’s not significant in some other way), I try to determine if it’s valuable and worth selling. Luckily my uncle was helping me last time, and his biggest help was repeating “It’s definitely not weird” over and over every time I started to feel gross about pilfering the jewelry drawer.

There are a couple nice family heirlooms that I’m pleased have come to me. One of them I’m giving to my aunt, though, because I think it will have more significance for her: It’s my grandmother’s ring that has one stone for each of her children. As far as family heirlooms go, it’s wonderful and beautiful, but if that’s the only reason I’d be keeping it, I’d just as soon have it go to someone who could hold it closer to their heart.

I found a small bag that had my father’s dog tags and a couple of his rings, including (I think) his wedding ring. That was a special find.

There’s a lot besides jewelry to go through, of course. I also started going through clothing drawers. We were the same size, after all. The weirdest find, however, was in one of her bedside drawers: It was a ketchup bottle. One of those little ones that are maybe two inches tall. It had no label, but it was definitely a tiny ketchup bottle. It was about half full with what looked like water, and in the middle of the white blank lid was a black cross in marker.

“Is this a ketchup bottle of holy water?” I asked my uncle.

He looked at it. “It is.”

“What…is it for?”

He shrugged. Well all right then. I asked what I was supposed to do with it, and luckily his priesthood came in handy, because he was able to supply the answer. “Go pour it in the garden. From the earth, back to the earth. All that.”

So that’s what I did—with that and the two other bottles of holy water I found stashed around her room. Because who doesn’t have extra holy water lying around?

What the hell, Mom? I mean, really.


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