Other than the obvious selling of the fabric, yarn and needlework crafts that make fiber artists so happy there is this other aspect to what the store does and a higher purpose for our being here. Let me tell you a story. This is typical of the many stories we hear everyday as folks donate the large ‘estate’ donations. To me the Estate donations are someone’s lifetime accumulation of needlework supplies, button collection, decades of fabric, etc.
Once upon a time, (because all really good stories start that way) a sweet old man came into the Legacy. I had not worked there for very long and not that many men come into the store, so I greeted him. He had looked around and he said, ” My wife did this stuff, she died and I have alot to bring you…but, (his eyes welling up with tears) not yet. Not yet” I asked how long it had been, and I think he said 2 years….Sweet man, missed his friend so. Very poignant. I assured him it had a place to come whenever he was ready.
It had been a long time since that day…Long since forgotten. The volunteers tell me that there is a truckload for us and I should take a look. I go out to greet an old man by his truck. I don’t realize it is him…then he starts to hand me what had belonged to his wife. I realized that it was the same guy and how important for me to facilitate his process as cooperatively and expediently as possible. I needed to accept what he had without sending him somewhere else. We would take care of it, what wasn’t right for us gets sent to Goodwill or Hospice (shoes,tennis rackets) Some stuff just needed to be tossed but it was too hard for him to be the one to do it.
As we unloaded his truck, he started to tell me why he was doing this now.
He had decided to trade houses with his daughter that does emergency foster care. Those are the folks that take kids in emergent circumstances (police holds for drugs or violence) of the most difficult situations. This gentleman had decided that she should have the big house. He would take the smaller house. He had already painted a tree on the walls of the boys’ bedroom and bought bunk beds. He had become animated with his eyes twinkling. He had plans for the girls’ room. I told him that the kids were lucky to be getting him as a foster grandparent.
When he left, the volunteer that had observed this and participated with the unloading said,” Wow, now I see what else The Legacy is about”. What we had observed was this gentleman’s’ process of grief and the shift to looking forward to his future. It was truly a beautiful thing.