The part where I hang my heart out to dry. - Kristen Kalp

The part where I hang my heart out to dry.

I made reference to a personal project and had no intentions of sharing it.   Then a friend encouraged/dared me to share it in the name of being authentic, creating meaning, and being fearless.

The attitude and harsh words, the tough love, the no-nonsense…that’s much easier to create than a blog post that reveals so much of who I am and where I come from and what hurts in my life right this second.  But I did it.

Grandma lives in a nursing home.  When I found out her possessions were being divided, sorted, and otherwise rummaged through before selling her dormant house, I traveled back to photograph the objects that hold meaning for me.  To observe and remember.

I found many things were just the same: the divine light in the kitchen, the bird clock, the jar of spoons on the table (yes, spoons – I never asked why), the grapevines in the backyard.  The fixtures, the furniture.

But the tricycles my cousins and I raced around the back porch were gone.  The tire swing, the toy yellow telephone I used to place calls to China, the album full of newspaper clippings about my family.  The bright red whistle I filled with water to chirp like a bird at all hours of the day and night.  The toys we loved that had to stay at Grandma’s house so others could enjoy them, too.

All gone.  The beehives buzzing in the backyard, the smell of dinner, the come-in-anytime policy that happens when you grow up a few hundred yards from Grandma’s house.

And Grandma?

I walked in and her eyes lit up.  She knew she knew me.  She knew she loved me but didn’t know why.

“Oh, it CAN’T be….um…uh…”

“Kristen, Grandma.  It’s Kristen.  Hi.”

“Yes, Krista.  Hi.”

Grandma’s gone, too.  She’s lost the present, but I hope she’s gotten to keep her memories of life twenty-something years ago, when her grandkids chased each other around the back porch and caught lightning bugs way past their bedtime.  And I pray she knows she is loved by that kind lady who gave her a lingering hug, even if my name never does turn up.

P.S.  Warts and all: the best stories to tell in your business.