A family portrait ~ 1984. I’ve got the yellow flower in my hair and am seated in front of my grandmother, Rosetta. My aunt Tracy, who also passed, is two over, the first seated person on the right.
Oddly enough, I’ve thought a lot about death. The subject matter has haunted my books for whatever reason. In Scented, in particular, the main character, Bryan, has to deal with knowing people around him are about to die. And so to get into his head, and to really flesh out that story, I had to get used to thinking of death and what it means to varying people.
Though, I must admit, all my thoughts on death did not prepare me for March of this year, a month that saw my aunt (the youngest of my grandmother’s 10 children) die suddenly of a heart attack, followed only three weeks later by the death of my grandmother. (We’ve decided that we Craytons will forevermore be wary of March, as my grandfather also died in March [back in 2012]. Not a good month for us.)
So, of course, issues of death, and of course, life, are heavily on my mind again. So I thought I’d share a few random thoughts on the subject.
Stop in and say hello. On many days, we’re busy and running around and we think we don’t have time to stop and say hello to a person we haven’t seen in a while. Yet, we really should. My dad, who was in town visiting his mother, stopped in to see his sister on Saturday, and she died that following Monday. And it was an unplanned visit, but it turned out to be so important in the end.
Fun Beyond Funerals. I actually had a wonderful time when I went to my grandmother’s funeral. Not because funerals are fun or because I was glad she was dead. But more because I got to see so many people I don’t normally see. Rarely are all my aunts and uncles in the same place, and they all know how to tell a story and how make you laugh. So, it was a real joy to spend time with them, as well as my own parents and siblings. But, it just reminded me that we should try to get together more often than at such somber occasions as funerals.
You only get one life. One of the folks who came to my grandmother’s funeral mentioned how he was retiring at 58, and another person there, said “Aren’t you worried about healthcare?” and his response was, “My mom died of pancreatic cancer, and she had stayed at her job longer than she wanted to because she wanted to save up and do all these things, and all she got to do was die. I promised her I wouldn’t do that.” I found it somewhat refreshing. Of course, I’m not suggesting one throws out all practicality, but I do think sometimes in life we have to make choices that thrust us fully into living our lives in the moment, not putting off for some later time. I do think my grandmother was excellent at that. Though, with 10 kids, you had to be in the moment. She was also really awesome in deciding what she wanted and going for it. She learned to drive at 50, and she loved to travel, going to Hong Kong and Jamaica. She was a lady who made her moments happen.
Well, that’s all for now. I’m off to write and enjoy life. I hope everyone has a great rest of this week.