Today, I was sitting in the corner of our kitchen on top of the countertops, nestled into the area where the toaster oven is, while Mykala made apple-and-cheese sandwiches at the stove. I looked at the results of painting and decorating this home over the past six months, the way the early fall light warmed the walls, and the breeze of a perfectly clear 61° day cooled off the space. Esmé slept peacefully in her carrier, tired after a three mile walk with her mom and dad. There were no television or radio noises, just the gentle rush of breezes through screens and the staccato sounds of kids playing down the street. It was a perfect moment, the closeness of family, the esthetics of the surroundings, and the peace of a respite from the exigencies of daily, young-professional, indebted life.
An extraordinary, above-average moment such as this is, by definition, out of the ordinary. Moments like it are connected by the rest of life, and I remain frustrated that I have trouble finding peace during those “rest of life” times. “Life is what happens when you’re making plans” popped into my head as I sat in my perch in the corner of the kitchen.
My good friend Nils’ father Garry passed away this past March 3rd, and I think of Garry all the time. It may be because this new home of ours is less than a mile from where he lived and Nils grew up, but I think it is because the potency of my feelings about Garry’s death surprised me. I guess my life has pivoted. Behind me are memories: where funerals were always grandparents two generations away, folks who had lived very long lives and seen multiple generations grow and live and love. Before me is the future, a new stage of life, one where the generation of my parents, sometimes of my peers, passes away too soon. Funerals where you think not of what the recently passed saw, but rather what they missed. It is disheartening that meditating on loss and death is the quickest way to perspective on one’s current moment, the quickest way to convince one’s short-sighted poorly-prioritzing brain to ENJOY WHAT IS IN FRONT OF YOU, YOU MORON.
Garry would have loved today.
I’m sure that you too, dear reader, know of someone who passed away too soon. Might I suggest that our task is to remember mortality and loss in a useful way: to let this perspective color our attitude, guide our way, without darkening the days of our journey.