I highly recommend viewing Penny’s website documenting her show LOSS: An Exhibit of Quilts from August 20-26, 2016. Her quilts eloquently investigate the process of grieving for her son, Jeremy Gold Amor, who died in July 2004.
kK: I noticed on the memorial page for Jeremy that you included a recording of his voice. Many people discuss a fear of forgetting the sound of someone’s voice. Other people talk about fear of forgetting that way someone smelled. Were there other visceral things that you wanted to preserve or were able to preserve?
Penny Gold: I know many people wonder what to do with clothing, those physical items in such close contact with the body of the beloved. After my mother died (16 months before my son), I kept the items of clothing and jewelry that I thought I would use myself (we were close to the same size), and I wore something of hers each day for a year. I still have several things that I wear from time to time; what I couldn’t wear, I gave away to Goodwill. I thought I would do the same with Jeremy’s clothing, but he was bigger than me, and there was little I could wear. Soon after the funeral, when his close friends were at the house, I let them each choose something from his clothing. What was hanging in his closet at the time of his death, I left there, and it remains there still. The rest I packed away in a large suitcase in the attic. I can’t bring myself to give any of it away, and really, there is no reason to.
At some point after Jeremy’s death, I purchased a large wooden jewelry box, and I have put there a miscellaneous collection of various small objects from Jeremy’s life, kind of like a reliquary. His wallet, some Magic cards, special photos, his baby teeth, and other things. The box sits on a dresser in the corner of my bedroom; I like having it there.