Jul 25, 2005

Three generations of bookworms

My mother has come over from the US, to attend her mother's funeral. She went with me to see the minister to discuss details about tomorrow's funeral and the eulogy. We thought we had covered everything, but just now remembered one thing about Grandma that was so obvious that we missed it: Her love of books.

My childhood home with Grandma and Grandpa included a room that was lined with books. Grandpa built shelves and Grandma put books on them: Fiction and non-fiction, glossy coffee table books and cheap paperbacks. Murder mysteries, history books, biographies, classic novels, how-to books, travel books, art books, books about cats, flowers, Norway, Germany, the pyramids, science, astrology, meditation, yoga, diet, etc. I once asked her if she had read all those books and she said she had.

Grandma's love of reading got passed on to her daughter and granddaughter. Mom is immersed in a book right now while I blog, which is what reminded her of her mother's voracious reading habit. I myself have yards of bookshelves, and there's always two or three books in progress on my nightstand. When I was a kid, I could spend an entire afternoon in one place, finishing a brand new Nancy Drew mystery. I'll still sometimes stay rooted to the spot to finish an exciting book.

I have always claimed that if you have something good to read with you, you are never lonely. Books can take you places you can't go to physically. And sometimes where a book takes you is a place where no person can join you. Some of my most pleasant moments and some of my most enlightening moments have been due to books.

I can remember walking into the two story high library at Dublin's Trinity College, and just standing there with a huge, goofy grin on my face, revelling at the sight of All Those Books. It wasn't the thought of having all that to read that was the cause of my spontaneous joy; it was the thought that so much of all kinds of human knowledge and experience and ideas were right there, at my fingertips. All I had to do was read.

I often got that feeling standing in Grandma's "library" when I was a kid. My choices were unlimited. Any bound back with printing on it was an adventure waiting for me.

Jul 20, 2005

Grandma's gone

I can't believe that the woman who has been in my life all my life is gone. The death notice was in the newspaper today, and to see my grandma's name in print made me bawl out loud.

I'm expected to handle funeral details, some last minute paperwork, clearing out her room at the nursing home, etc., and this part of the process irritates me (it did when Grandpa died, too). I don't want to think right now, dammit! I want to curl up in a ball and just go numb until I think I can handle the change, the loss, the foreverness of her never, ever going to talk to me again, look at me again, touch me again, nor will I see her again, touch her again, speak to her again.

Jul 14, 2005

She'll be here soon, I said

Life has interrupted blogging. My wonderful grandma, who has been like a mother to me, is on her deathbed. 11 years ago this week, her husband - the wonderful man I called Grandpa - died. Years ago, when I went to visit his grave, I got such a sense of loneliness. I told him that he'd have to be patient; we girls weren't done gabbing yet. The grave no longer looked lonely; he knew what we were like.

This evening I visited Grandma. She's sleeping, unconscious, free of the chronic pain that has plagued her for years. Her kidneys are shutting down, making her fingers swell, and the wedding ring she asked for last week is cutting into her ring finger.

I felt like visiting Grandpa's grave on my home. I spoke to the lone name on the headstone, the name that has been alone for so long, waiting for a second name to fill the gap underneath his.

"She'll be here soon," I said. "It won't be long now. Receive her. She's coming soon to be with you again."

Suddenly I realized why Grandma had asked for her wedding ring. She told me that she wanted people to know she was married. And she is. Her husband is waiting. He's been waiting a good while for his beloved wife, but now the wait is over. She'll be with him soon.

Jul 6, 2005

Successories

I enjoy how people play with words, making up new ones, and you automatically understand what they mean. (Can't think of any good examples, off-hand, except spork.)

Just now, I came across "successories", "success" and "accessories" combined. Successories are motivational items, like a poster of a cat seeing a lion in the mirror with a caption along the lines of "It's how you see yourself that matters."

I came across the word, reading someone's blog complaining about the phenomenon, meaning seeing people's offices full of successories. I know that stuff like that doesn't work with me. It tends to become visual clutter and get mostly ignored - until the day I feel like shit or do something really stupid. Then it too easily turns into a reminder of what an Absolute Failure I am. Who needs that sort of "motivation"? It's the mental equivalent of sugar highs: Sweet and satisfying now, doldrums later.

As far as motivational sayings go, I don't care for "carpe diem" (Latin for "seize the day"). Sounds like effort. I much prefer "This Too Shall Pass." Works wonders with worries and those dumb days.

A black and white day

Well, that's how I'm dressed, at any rate.

I said I'd blog more often and, darn it, I'm sitting here, dressed in black and white, and suffering from writer's block. I wrote something about stuffed closets and couldn't figure out where I was going with that, so stuffed it. So here I sit, white pants, black top, black patterned jacket, black shoes, white socks, black wristwatch and earrings with white flowers, feeling incredibly coordinated with my black purse and new black-and-white umbrella, which I used today, grateful that the rain was light and coming straight down so it didn't splatter my white pants.

I really wish I could think of something to write about.