I was cleaning out my purse and forgot that I carry Her with me. Her last rosary and two coins from our trip to France when I was a teenager.

It surprised me to find these, even though I was the one who put them where they were. Opening the thinning Asian-style purse, the rosary came out in pieces. I don’t remember if it had always been like this or if the links gave way from prayers lost and lack of use.

Running the beads between my fingers, transported me to silent church pews and the nearly empty sanctuary I would inhabit out of need, where stale incense hung in the air as a matter of right. I sought answers then, direction of where to go and what to do. I sought consolation and balm as well, for the gaping wound my soul became during those years.

It took a long time to get better, to stop dwelling in the haunted purgatory of Her no longer being among Us and what that meant for those of Us left in her wake. It took a long time to right the ship and sail in calmer waters. It took a long time to be able to look at Her rosary and not cry. It took a long time to grieve Her and to eventually stop.

But every once in a while, I run across the few remaining things of Hers and remember how far I’ve come, how many mistakes I’ve made, how if Her love and protection were here I could have reached farther, accomplished more, been different…

I sit in the small space of inconsolability (not long, never long anymore), closing my eyes and wondering what she would think of Me. But the effort goes up into the ethers like my memories of her laugh and smile. And I am left once more with just Her things. Tucking the clinking beads and metal-on-metal coins back into their soft, quiet pouch, I put them back into their small quiet place and continue carrying Her with me.