The Home Office of a Loved One Lost

We usually like to keep it pretty professional here at Office Envy, but we also believe that every once and a while it’s a blogger’s prerogative to wax poetic about the things that mean a lot personally and so today we need to get emotional for a minute. And because it’s hard to get emotional in the first person plural, today it’s “me”, not “we”.

Last night, in the warm golden light of a house filled with people on a cold midwestern winter evening, I introduced myself to a stranger by saying I was a “writer, at heart.” It’s not my day job, or even my night job, because writing for me could never be a “job”.

But even for this writer-at-heart, words are hard to come by that can fill the void that is left by the loss of someone who meant as much to me as my grandmother, who passed away last Thursday.

The day after her passing I wandered through her house, taking pictures to memorialize the place that I had done so much growing up in. There was the bright yellow kitchen where I had communed with her daily after school in my teenage years, the dining room table where we ate Christmas dinner every year, her living room and bedroom filled with books. Memories flooded me in every room – except for one. The one room which strangely I never spent much time in at all, ironically, was her home office. I don’t know why.

There is no computer in this room – though even as an older woman she was one of the early adopters of personal computing technology and email. On the day after her passing I found my Office Envy business card on the floor next to her computer. I had given the card to her the day before. I’ll never know for sure if she ever visited this site. I hope she did – and I deeply hope that it made her proud.


In her later years, I knew her to read in this office, which even on this overcast day was kissed by streams of afternoon sunlight.

The room is humbly furnished, with a desk, a purple folding chair, a comfortable couch a few shelves covered in books that lend the room the earthy smell of books that have withstood the test of time.


The lesson of losing anyone is be kinder and closer to the ones you still have. The Office Envy twist on that maxim is the admonishment to spend your life doing work that is meaningful, and to spend your days in a space that inspires you.

May your spaces, places and days be filled with inspiration.


  1. Cathy Gorlin says:

    hearfelt and touching.

  2. Cathy says:

    I just discovered your blog and I love what you’ve written about your grandmother. Four years ago my husband suddenly passed away and I’ve slowly been going through his office. He was self employed so it’s taken awhile! But just last night I put the finishing touches on it to make the space mine even though I kept many of his things in the room.
    I sure wish I’d taken before pictures! It was a cluttered disaster but he knew exactly where everything was. Now I can feel his presence in the room without feeling so much pain.
    I wish you well and you grieve for your grandmother.

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