He gave me a box filled to the brim with little things. I brought it home, turned on a lamp, and sat down on the floor. Pulled out a card that we had given him for his birthday. One never expects to get their gifts back in this way. Patches from Nepal and Vietnam, books on the Black Panthers, Rapidiographs and pen nibs, Japanese stationary, Lakota Indian sweat ceremony instructions, my heart sank with every piece. How strange it is to be left with this. But how comforting "things" can be in their ability to allow you to hold on to what we perceive as lost.
Perhaps that is why people lose their shit grabbing for crap when loved ones die. In some cases it is cold greed, and sickening. But sometimes, I think the materialism that follows death is just another form of grief. Perhaps we should be a little more understanding of relatives who dive like vultures into pieces that are left behind.