My grandmother died peacefully in her bed earlier this month, aged 101. Yesterday my mother & my cousin & I went to take basic care of her house: throw away old toothbrushes, clear the food from the kitchen cupboards, put wool blankets & sweaters away from moths & meese, and rescue orphaned houseplants. The house was very quiet - eerie, and dead, like a low-budget museum of itself, without fancy curators.
In the laundry & sewing room, which was a favorite place of my childhood, I found this familiar embroidery hanging behind the door to the pink attic bedroom where my mother slept as a girl. Only God. Or: All is God. A useful reminder: that ornate dresser on the landing, with the box of mouse-bait sitting next to a Roman amphora? God. The radiator by the window, sporting an old rug and a fox fur? God. Giant underpants, midcentury cold medicine, and ancient towels with raveling monograms? God, God, God.
My grandmother and her house died together after almost 80 years' companionship. What will happen next? Only God knows.