Vanilla Bean Dishes & the Paradox of Grief.

GRIEF & LOSS // angie warren

There were these dishes my mom had. A set of four. Unique, the color of vanilla bean ice cream, and shaped more like a pendant than a plate.

Every time I ate at her house I used them. Every time I used them I asked her, "Hey mom just let me have these. C'mon. Please." and every time she smiled, tilted her head and simply said, "hmmm, NO."

As my siblings and I were cleaning out her house the week after she had died, I was so thankful that we avoided fights and arguments over who took what. It seemed we all had special, individual, connections to her and her belongings.

I stood in the kitchen on that Friday morning, the set of four dishes clutched deep into my chest. The clatter they made as I hugged them was piercing, but I didn't care.

All noise around me stopped. Voices blurred. It was just those dishes and me, in the middle of a house, that was once a home. I've eaten on those plates regularly in my own kitchen for nearly two years now. And each time I do, I want to both throw them against the wall, and never use them again, for fear I'll break them.

Such a paradox and so much what grief is. It's a feeling of wanting to throw the persons memory over a canyon because it hurts too much to befriend, and hoping to keep both their scent and sound in a magical little box you carry with you everywhere.

I wish it were easier, I wish it didn't hurt so much. For me, and for so many I know who are feeling it, too. But it's not and it won't be. And I guess that's just the way of it. I love those dishes, but I surely don't love the reason I finally got them. No, no I don't love that at all.