My father was blessed during his life. He not only had a loving family and countless friends, he also worked hard and was able to accumulate many material things during different stages of his life. In the end only two material things remained, tucked safely inside the drawer next to his bed. One was his rosary, the other...his wallet.
My father was rarely without his rosary. When I think of him, it is often with his black, beaded rosary in his hand. The one other item my father treasured was his wallet. He kept it near, and often asked where it was. When I visited him in the Memory Support Unit, I often snuck a few dollars inside. I think it gave him comfort, and made him feel a sense of independence to have that tangible link to his life before the dreadful disease took over.
My mom kept his wallet after he passed, and often carried it in her purse. Eventually, I helped her organize the top drawer in my dad's dresser with special items that held precious memories for her. She kept his wallet there, along with several other things that brought her comfort. About a year ago, I was with my mom organizing her closets, and helping her go through my father's things. When I went to leave, she handed me Dad's wallet. She pressed it in my hand and said she wanted me to have it. I was so very thankful, and assured her I would care for it forever.
I keep my dad's wallet beside my bed, just as he did. Every so often, I take it out, look at his driver's license and insurance cards, and have a good cry. Then I tuck them back inside, comforted by the fact that he lived and smiled and prayed and laughed. He was here, and I have a small piece of him to carry with me always.
I love that he carried this little picture of himself and his dad for all those many years.