(Skip this one if you’re looking for library-related content. This is just me, being me—not me being a librarian.)
The prompt for today was great: “Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)” I imagine it inspired a great number of wonderful responses, full of imagery and emotion.
I even have a couple of moments I could write about: the half hour after Dale’s and my “paper wedding” (no, not during—I didn’t feel present in that moment, for some reason; perhaps it felt too significant, or its significance was too abstract, for me to really deal with what was going on—but the period of time directly after) when we were surrounded by people who loved us, and we were able to go outside and take pictures (me in slippers!), in this beautiful evening light and air that felt like spring, despite it being January in Connecticut. … But that was more “happy” than “alive,” and, anyway, I’ve kind of said what I want to say about that. My other moments are similarly off-theme, moments of great contentment or comfort or discomfort, but nothing I’d characterize with quite the same phrasing as the prompt offered.
Instead? Well, it’s December 3rd, a date that speaks to me more strongly than the writing prompt could. Today, besides being one of my favorite people’s 30th birthday(!), would also have been my grandmother’s 76th birthday. Should have been, I guess, is a better way to put it. My grandmother had diabetes and smoked for many years and, consequently, died of a heart attack almost 10 years ago. I didn’t have the depth of character or the sentimentality or the, you know, perspective to spend as much time with her as I should have when she was alive. The last opportunity I had to visit with her, I opted to go do something else instead. I regret that, deeply. I regret all of the questions I never asked her, from personal ones like how she decided to marry my grandfather (which turns out to be a juicier story than I could have known at the time), to sociological ones like “what was it like growing up when you did?”, to historical ones like “where did our family come from?” She was working on a genealogy, but didn’t get too far with it. My grandfather has no idea—that kind of thing doesn’t interest him. When asked where we come from, he replies “Albemarle County,” which is kind of sweet but less than helpful.
Anyway, I remember my grandmother fondly. I feel an affection for her that I wish I would have shown when I had the chance. I wore purple and red in her honor today. Tonight, as a small tribute to her, I will sit down with a cup of coffee—I’ll put sucralose or stevia or maybe even agave syrup into it, instead of the saccharine she preferred—and spend a few moments reflecting and remembering her life. Although I never met her, I try to do the same for my great-grandmother on her birthday, only it’s tea I put milk and sugar into, not coffee. My mother may do the same for her mother, today; I know she did for her grandmother, on her birthday. I wonder: do all of us have these little rituals (I use the term in a non-religious sense), or is this peculiar to my family?