The grocery list memorial.

I go into my mother’s kitchen to grab a few last things for dinner.

My family and I are spending this Memorial Day with my mother, grilling steaks and roasting marshmallows.  The kids have been playing outside for the past hour but now they are suddenly starving.  We’re quickly trying to get everything on the dining room table before someone falls apart.

I’m heading to the fridge for the salads when I see a paper with my father’s slightly hunched and slanted handwriting on the door.

It’s a grocery list, such a small thing, but it shakes me to my core.  My father’s been dead for almost two years, he hasn’t written a grocery list for a long, long time.

But the slip of paper is there, plain as day, right on the fridge as if it he stuck it there with a magnet only minutes before.

And for the quickest of seconds, for one heart beat, I believe my Dad really is here.  That he put the grocery list on the door and stepped into the other room.  That the past two years have only been a bad dream and that he is still with us, very much alive.

For one second a strange, small hope flickers inside me.

But the moment passes before I can even blink and while I reach my hand up to touch the words he wrote, reality crashes over me like a tidal wave.  Drowning my tiny hope.

How many times can your heart break?

How many times can you lose the same person?

How can an old grocery list, a piece of trash, suddenly become the most valuable thing in the world?

My forehead is pressed against the refrigerator door as I fight to swallow my tears, my fingers still touching his words.

My mother’s voice interrupts my thoughts.  “I found that in some papers I was going though,” she explains quietly.  “I just like seeing his writing, there on the fridge.”

“Of course,” I answer and raise my head off the door, before I open it to get the salads.  “Of course.”


(Just Write.)


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4 Responses to The grocery list memorial.

  1. Caren says:

    My dad has been gone for almost 22 years. I smell someone wearing Old Spice, or hear a song or a poem or a joke, I miss him terribly.. I miss him everyday.. One thing that helps me a lot is that my brothers look like him and they act like him..Watching them being fathers knowing that my father taught them well…and even taught us girls how to be great mothers…

  2. Denise McCubbins says:

    Ami, I’m so sorry for your continued loss. I didn’t know your father, but his memorial is in you, his wonderful daughter. Your life, your children, your amazing work as a mother are all the best memorial of and testament to his work as a father. Big huge hugs and prayers coming your way. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Mindy says:

    My heart broke again with you. Abracos.

  4. Oh how I want to hug you now. I don’t know you, but I know that feeling to a smaller degree. And it’s so comforting to see that little connection and so utterly painful all at once. Beautifully written though and so relatable.

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