Last year my grandmother on my father’s side passed away. I can still remember waking up to the email from my father with the news. My grandmother was one of those stubborn old people, and though she had been having some heart issues it had seemed like she was getting better and I thought she had at least a year or two left to go. Needless to say the email announcing her passing was unexpected. My father and his siblings soon set about the process of dividing up her remaining possessions amongst their families, with my father, the oldest of her children, taking point on the matter. He brought back to my family’s house a fair number of boxes filled with my grandmother’s things and it took him several months to work through all of them. A number of my grandmother’s decorations and other items were passed on to me, including a collection of books. Recently, as I was going through the process of cutting down the number of books on my bookshelf as part of the greater project of eliminating unwanted or unneeded possessions, I came across these books again. There are seven of them in total, all written during the period of the mid 1990s to the early 2000s. All of them are related to travel, and my father gave them to me since I’m the most wanderlust prone of his children and he thought I might find them useful. I had placed the books in my collection upon returning to Colorado, and there they sat, unopened and unnoticed. That finally changed when I was dividing up my book collection between what would stay and what would go. I spent a few hours looking them over, reading sections of them, and getting a feel for whether I would ever have any use for them. Sadly, only one book survived the inquisition. I say that it’s sad because these were my grandmother’s books and it feels wrong to let them go. They’re just books, but they were her books, and somehow that makes them more important, even if they’re outdated and/or on a topic I’m not interested in. At the same time, there are several other belongings of my grandmother’s that I’m keeping, so I know I’m not casting her memory aside. The books will go when I’ve finished building the pile of things that are being sold, donated, or given away to friends. There will be a tinge of sadness, but I have to do this.

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