The Last Gift
A few months ago, we received a gift card for $75 when Josh’s aunt was closing up his grandmother’s accounts after death. I know the natural initial thought is: what fun. But we were also told the gift card would expire on January 21, 2013, and we suddenly felt a tremendous amount of pressure to get something that would honour her and help the kids remember her; a final gift from their great-grandmother.
By the time we returned to thinking about the card, we had two weeks left before it expired. My stomach was in knots every time we thought about it. We couldn’t put it toward a trip because we needed to use the money by the 21st and we hadn’t time to travel. While there were things we needed insofar as home repair, there wasn’t enough time to make an informed decision. We didn’t want to squander it on groceries or media. We wanted the gift to be monumental, yet we had no ideas what sort of gift would feel monumental.
We finally decided that we would get the Fallingwater Lego set, and then take the kids to Fallingwater in the spring. It would honour his grandmother’s love of art and travel. It would be fun for the kids. And it would rewrite a location casualty into something beautiful.
We were down to the final day of the gift card, the morning of the 21st, and it was time to commit to this idea. And I wanted to throw up. I literally couldn’t handle the idea of going to Fallingwater. But we had no other plan. So we started to throw out ideas.
We would get a guinea pig to become Cozy Jackson’s best friend, and we’d make a movie about them called “An Unlikely Duo” about their epic rodent friendship.
We would get a clock for the kitchen so we could look at the time and think about Grandma every morning while we eat banana muffins.
We would get a few seasons of Doctor Who because Grandma liked the BBC and we like aliens. It’s a win-win.
We would quickly put it towards a plane ticket to… somewhere.
We would get each child a piece of jewelry gifted posthumously from their Great-Grandmother.
And the clock kept ticking down.
At 9 o’clock with three hours to go, we finally settled on a book and a clock; not things that we were particularly jazzed about in terms of being final gift-worthy, but which felt okay. We started filling out the order form online, and as Josh went to pay, he looked down at the card and said, “Melissa, this expires in 2021.”
I got the letter which clearly told us to spend it by 1/21/13. So Josh called the gift card company and spoke to customer service who informed him that no, it expired in 2021. Josh dryly told him he would circle the date on his calendar.
I don’t know if gaining an extra eight years has really helped us in the long run. I have a terrible feeling that we will forget about it until 2020, and then stress about it for a year. But I can’t even express how happy we were on the 21st when we all skipped upstairs, granted clemency from decision-making for the time being. The gift still to come, so in a way, her life not really over.