Friday, August 7, 2009

Things That Make Me Think, and Things That Make Me Smile.

Yesterday was an interesting, challenging day.

BAD: I accidentally (or, as my co-worker said, "accidentally") deleted everything in my work email Inbox. After a brief panic, I was reassured when the IT guy told me he could rescue much of what was lost.

GOOD: I spent a GREAT evening with my friend MBM. In a really unique way more than any other friend I've ever known, MBM "gets" me and inspires me and I admire her so much for her intelligence, beauty, wisdom and drive at such a young age. We went out with her friends to a beautiful new restaurant in
Gramercy called Mari Vanna. The restaurant's concept is based on the folktale of Mari Vanna, a woman who invited strangers into her home as guests and gave the long-time visitors a key to the house. The restaurant evokes an old Russian household and, as with the story, regular guests are given a key. For the second time in a month, Chelsea Clinton was dining a table away from me! Maybe we're destined to be friends...or maybe she just has EXCELLENT taste.

BAD: After I left the cheerful dinner party at midnight I checked my voicemail and received an upsetting message from my grandmother telling me she has lost sight in her left eye. Only two weeks ago I called her en route to the airport for Paris to check in with her and wish her a happy upcoming birthday (she turned 92 on July 27). She mentioned on that call that her eye was bothering her but that prescription eye drops seemed to be helping. Apparently that's no longer the case. I was so upset by this news. Upset because it was too late to call her, upset because I'm not geographically closer to her to take care of her, and upset because I'm now thinking about the ravages of life taking their toll on my wonderful grandmother. She was born in 1917 on a farm in western Kansas, survived the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, and lived through such important moments and eras as WWII, the Cold War, JFK's assassination, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the Moon landing, the computer boom and internet explosion and I know she's had a wonderful and interesting life. 92 and she has a cell phone. But it's been painful to see her start walking with a cane. And it's difficult to think that one of her eyes, which gazed at me sweetly in my childhood and cried tears of joy and pride for me over time, which allowed her to see all the many moments she's absorbed in her long 92 years simply won't receive any more input, and won't capture these bits in time. She herself said "it could be much worse" and it's true. But aging is such a hard thing to witness. I didn't visit home very often during my college years, but with each return trip I marked the change in my parents, my former teachers, my friends' parents. With age comes wisdom and assurance and so many wonderful things so I'm happy to let it affect me, but i don't like when it messes with my family.

GOOD: After crying for a bit about these new circumstances, I saw that I had received two letters in the mail. One from my dear friend MBS, who just wanted to brighten my day with a funny card, and another from the darling HP, who sent a save-the-date for her wedding next year in Oxford, England. And I realized that sad things in my life are apt to hit me on a day like any other; time won't stand still simply because my grandmother experiences some private pain. There's a universe of people out their who have to grieve on their own time while the world keeps turning. And even in the darkness there are many beautiful shining moments.

I don't think I have a conclusion to all of this, but sometimes I'm hit by such a mix of emotions that I don't even know where to turn. I know that I was able to be made happy by spending time with a good friend, by dining at a hot new restaurant, by thinking about how I love my family, by being thought of by dear friends; shallow and meaningful things alike made me smile. I also know I was really pained by something that, in the scheme of it all, is insignificant. I still have my grandmother in this world with me, and I've been fortunate to be reminded of how lucky I am that she's still here. If I act on this rude awakening and make the time to travel to Kansas and be with her, then I win in the end I suppose. People have to age, and there will eventually be a terminus for all of us. And the world spins madly on...

1 comment:

MCW said...

I lost my grandmother almost a year ago...and I would have to have her back even for a day.
But, I know how tough it is when reality sets in that your grandparents are getting older... Enjoy her!