Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Mother's Purse

At first, I discouraged my mother to take her purse with her. 'Don't bother, you don't need it.' That was until I realized there was more to the purse than just the physical object. 

Maman walking to the dining room
at her assisted living community.
Going out with her purse, even to the dining room within her assisted living community, means being in a world still where she is self-sufficient. 

The old brown purse that used to hold her driver's license, wallet, checkbook, debit card, and small address book, is now filled with an assortment of odd papers, but it doesn't matter. My mother never opens her purse anymore. 

"Ou est mon sac?" She does not want to lose sight of her most precious belonging. And I understand.


  1. Bow to your maman and to you, Marguerite! :-)

    wanna add some be self-sufficient and another aspect is - I think and feel, to be respected. Just recently I have had a discussion about exactly this issue and tried to communicate the way I understand it. Consider the many things that we - so called normal people (think to) need to feel respected: titels, professions, houses, cars, even people, maybe above all people to call "mine" and attach our identity to...

    Now for him/her this purse, this cup, this trousers, this handbag is very important, because it is the thing that gives him/her a possibility to (eventually, if necessary) claim respect and show that they are still someone with identity. Respect for their

    that still is
    and ours, too

    of course, but they see/have nothing anymore to attach it to - except this thing.

    ...the story runs deep... Much Love

  2. a wonderful example of how logic can be an insufficient method for understanding things. there is often a deeper, symbolic meaning hovering around the edges if we use our inner awareness. thanks for this reminder.

  3. Thank you Doris. Yes, being respected also, and valued still. So important!

    My mother wants to be able to assume all the roles that used to make up her old life. As a mother, nurturing me and my children, telling us to cover us well when it is cold, or wondering what kind of presents she could get us, or treating us at the restaurant, or hosting us during our visit . . . This is why it is so important to join her in her reality, so that she can symbolically at least, still fulfill her roles.

  4. Carol (zendotstudio), I love how you say this: "a deeper symbolic meaning hovering around the edges . . ."

    Taking the time to pause, and not respond automatically to the surface content. Instead using pregnant pause to connect and respond from the heart.

  5. Oh, yes. Very moving (literally, too!) My Mom is fighting brain cancer and is almost always either in a wheelchair or a hospital bed, and so attached to her purse, even when she is at home. Since her illness, we've bought several purses-we "clean them out" together.

    And exactly the same nurturing words and gestures, still. Love.