I drove a long time tonight. Grabbed my journal, my dog and headed for height; a place where I could watch the sun set in silence. The ever famous Lookout Mountain was sun-kissed and faring well so it was the perfect place to meditate. Below, I could see all of Los Angeles dipped within various shades of orange. I was happy to be out of the house, now reflecting on all of the crazy events that had gathered within the last month…
I have always understood that I’m getting older but have freely chosen to hang on to the naiveté that it’s all in how you feel. Age isn’t a number, It’s how you feel right?! Fun, free, flirty; young. Granted, it’s a romantic naiveté but naivé none the less. Age is a number and we all know that the more years that pass us by, the more goodbyes we’re forced to admit. Last month my grandmother passed away, then an old friend and then a newborn child that I had only recently met and photographed. All in one week, making the month that followed this dizzying display of black suits, sad faces and long lost friends and family. Wham. It was a lot. And though I was raised with the mentality that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, there was absolutely nothing I could do here. I couldn’t bring them back. They were gone. In the blink of an eye.
So I did my best to move forward- I celebrated them and cried out their name with as much positivity as I could muster. I shared pictures, stories, wrote a Eulogy and went on many hikes. The hardest loss was probably my Gran. I’ve written about her before in past posts but in a nutshell, she was like a second mom to me. I adored her. She taught me how to cook with passion and confidence. She was also the McGuiver of all crafts- I can now officially craft my way out of any emergency situation. Most of all, she was a great listener, so aware and intent on helping and always, with a smile. She taught me how to love and she taught me how to be selfless. I don’t always master those traits but she has consistently been one of the top ten models for me. Her laugh is what I’ll miss most- the way her eyes squinted and sparkled at the same time, the red of her cheeks and the way she rocked. Pure bliss.
Three generations of women: my Gran and I, with my mother smiling on in the background. This is one of my favorite family photos.
There’s a silver lining in this however, in that my Gran had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years prior to her death. It was a hard road for her but when her time came, I think she was ready. There’s a small comfort in knowing that. It’s bitter-sweet really. I remember every time my mother and I would go to visit her in Arizona, our decent out of the driveway was so heart wrenching. It consisted of Gran, standing at the foot of the drive, slowly waving as we pulled out and all of us crying, a complete wash of estrogen-soaked tears. We were always so happy to visit but it was oh so hard to leave. This feels similar now, except that I can’t see her waving. And that’s the human side to it all I guess, we always want more time with those we love. It’s never enough time, no matter the age, no matter the disease.
Today as I took in my Los Angeles view, I desperately tried to organize each memory; maniacally compartmentalizing every facial expression so as to never forget. That being said, after a full month of mourning, I’m happy to report that I’m doing ok. I was finally able to collect myself enough to write a little bit about it and make the solid decision that, I no longer care to wallow in it. I mean, I’m all for a good cry or two but after that, It’s time to get up and move. It’s the best way to celebrate who they were. My husband is a creature of the same habit and often helps me up when I can’t seem to shed the excuses. We’re a good team like that.
In fact, our final funeral was last week and in the spirit of keeping it light, celebrating life and refusing to “wallow in it,” we decided to go back to our hotel and get downright silly. We quickly snagged the leftover veggie platter from the memorial’s reception, bought a huge plate of hot wings, a bottle of wine and went back to the hotel for a make-shift in-room picnic. We played some music, chatted and then, well then it just got silly. I proceeded to put on my sunhat, sunglasses, one of my grandmothers gold embroidered skirts from Guatemala and began to jump on the hotel bed, lightly at first but due to the sudden rush and release of energy, the bed soon took on the roll of a cathartic trampoline. You might be thinking “what the F?” right about now but trust me, it felt so good. Some people go to a shooting range, a punching bag or go running, we jump on beds. That’s right, Joe followed right behind on the bed opposite me. Suddenly we were ten years old and we jumped until we both fell over in a wave of hair and breathlessness, graciously succumbing to our increasing case of the giggles. Of course, we took turns recording it all with our Iphones, making sure to throw in a few priceless poses while catching air. LOL, It’s how we roll. We’re weird. I just couldn’t take any more sadness. I swear I could feel my Gran right there with us actually, laughing right along. In fact, maybe all three of them were there… Why not right?
So yeah, last month was a long and strange set of days. In the end I learned that it’s important to do what you can to move on. Create inspiration. Shower those who are still around you with love. Try something new. Write about it. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and perhaps…well perhaps find a bed.