Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Storybook Dolls

When I was a little girl, it was understood that I would one day inherit my grandma's porcelain storybook dolls from her childhood. I marveled at these dolls for years because they offered a glimpse into her past, and the idea of her having been a little girl always made me happy. She was pretty much my best friend growing up, so needless to say, losing her was absolutely devastating. And even though six years have gone by since her passing, my heart still needs mending.

I lost her just before the Christmas season, and I opened the box of dolls on Christmas Eve. The time had come and they were mine. It was so very bitter-sweet. Because the pain was still fresh, I chose to box them back up and put them aside until I was stronger and could look upon them with the appreciation that I had as a child.

Between then and now, my family moved twice. Last year I realized I hadn't seen that box since the day I repacked it and put it in the garage. I tore through every box and tote in my family's new home, but I couldn't find those dolls. At first I went the denial route and continued looking in true mad-woman fashion, but there came a point where I had to admit to myself that they had probably been lost in the move. Each time I thought of those dolls that were entrusted to me, I felt like I was being stabbed in the stomach. It was true heartbreak.

Not too long ago, my mom paid a visit to her old house and asked the new tenants if they perhaps had a box in their garage that could have been left behind by our family. Nope. More stomach stabbies. It was nice of her to try though :)

And then today...

My mom and I were cleaning her garage and going through my old childhood and high school mementos. I found a plastic tote that held some old clothes that had belonged to my grandma, and there beneath the clothes was a small box. My heart soared for just a moment before I made myself push the feeling away. Those dolls were long gone. I wouldn't do this to myself. And yet, I peeked inside just enough to see crumpled paper.

Hope ignited and I opened the box in a slight daze. There, gazing up at me, was a pretty porcelain face! I fell to my knees- fell to pieces- and pulled each of the small dolls out, one by one. I thanked my lucky stars for the peace of mind this brought me, for never in all my life had I felt such guilt as I did when I thought my carelessness had betrayed the woman I loved so dearly.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in complete contentment :)

25 comments:

  1. Oh! I am so, so happy for you. Those are precious memories from your grandmother, and I am sorry for your loss.


    ~Lorna

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  2. This story totally touched me. I'm glad you hadn't lost the dolls for real. I could only imagine how you were feeling but I know it must have been difficult. I lost my grandma a year ago this last Feb. It was really hard on me too. I actually took it harder than I thought. I still feel like she is with me though. I still get a little choked up just thinking about her, even typing this comment to you.

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  3. wow that was really touching. I too have some things of my mate grandma passed on to me. a handmade blanket and some of her jewelery. i dont keep them with me for the same reason that you didnt. glad that you found the dolls back.

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  4. Aww this post made me smile on this very wet and dull Irish morning :D

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  5. Very sweet story. I'm so glad you have them again. =)

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  6. My Grandma passed away just over a year ago and I miss her like crazy. I'd lived with her all my life and she was like a second mother to me. I'm SO glad you found the dolls, that must have been such a huge relief. It's great that you have this momento to keep and pass on.

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  7. Oh yay!! I'm soooo happy for you. I felt pain for you just reading it...I know how I would feel if I lost something of Avery's like that and it breaks my heart. I'm so glad you found them, what a beautiful gift from your grandmother even after she is no longer here on earth. :)

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  8. I'm so happy that you found them! Those mementos are really important, specially if they remind you of someone so special!

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  9. What a sweet story.. I wish upon everybody to have this kind of memory and gift to treasure... Three Christmas ago, my husband's grandmother sent me a gift which was a beautiful diamond ring - it was hers and she wanted to give it to me. I was so happy. A month later, she passed away - I wear it everyday...

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  10. I REALLY like this post. thanks for sharing it.

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  11. thanks for following my blog!!! i was checking out yours and you are wicked and this blog is cool!! i'm following you 2!

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  12. What a lovely story! My Grandmother is one of my very best friends, too. I'm so glad you found the dolls. (I found your blog through nablopomo.)

    Jackie

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  13. I have a similar story which involves a bed cover made by my great-grandmother. After about 17 years I found it a couple of months ago.

    Thanks for stopping by and becoming a follower. :)

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  14. Touching story...hope you can pass them to the next generations too~ My grandmama was the best! It can be the worst to loose someone especially during Holiday season, so sorry to hear that dear... XO*

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  15. Aww...what a sweet story. There are a few things of my grandmothers I wish I had too. But I think some things got lost or left behind when she moved to Florida. I have a few pins that were hers...but I would love it if I had some of her dolls or even the doll she made me when I was younger..hmm I wonder where that got lost to.

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  16. I wouldn't doubt if your grandmother helped you find them again. What a lovely story, full of your love for your grandma.You could never disrespect her, because of all that you hold inside.

    But, how very nice and comforting to have found them. I am so happy for you.:)I know that I would have felt the same way, no doubt. And the dolls must be so precious. Perhaps you could show us a picture of them? :) Lydia

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  17. oh, wow. thats so brilliant that you found the dolls, they must mean so much!
    xo

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  18. That was such a lovely story, and I'm glad it had such a happy ending for you. I can only imagine your panic when you thought you might have lost the dolls, and the relief when you found them again. xx

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  19. That is so awesome...Great story!

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  20. What a bitter-sweet story, so sad to read about your Grandmother passing, and you loosing the dolls, but so happy to read you found them again! Make sure you put them somewhere safe and instead of them making you feel sad, use them to remind you how special your Grandmother was!

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  21. Wow, such a touching story! I am really, really glad you found them and all is well! And you are such a wonderful writer! I think it was meant to be this way, you were meant to "loose" them so you could deal with your grief and then be able to appreciate them again. You found them again when you were ready... or maybe I am just a big dreamer..:)

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  22. Oh, I am so happy for you. I was just sick to my stomach right along with you. Great post!

    So glad to have found you!

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  23. Jen,
    I remember some of those dolls! I was about 7 years old when your Grandma and Grandpa got married. When he was in the Marines (in Japan), I occasionally got to spend a day with Vernie at her parents home. I loved to stay with her and to look at her storybook dolls! I had forgotten about them until I read your story. I am sooo glad you found them!!

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