my brother . me :: april, 2009
this morning, for the first time in more than forty years, it is possible that someone else woke up and padded into the bathroom first thing to find himself looking into this mirror. this person would find himself looking into this mirror that is on the wall in a bathroom in his new home.
i know that feeling that might have come up when sleepy eyes adjusted to new surroundings, that "oh my goodness we bought our first house and today we woke in our new home" feeling. it is a beautiful, embarking on a new journey that is your life, your real life, sort of feeling.
i sit here in this moment and give myself permission to sift through my own feelings that come up as my heart reaches toward another coast, toward this home and this mirror and the memories of so much time spent with my grandparents in this home that now belongs to someone else.
i sift through the ache and the sadness and the joy of the blessing that was a friendship, a real friendship, with my grandmother. i sift through the echoes of my grandfather's last words to me the day before he died. i sift through the feelings that cause me to simply sit with confusion about how a person's life just ends one day.
my brother said to me recently as he sifted through his own feelings after just learning that a friend his age had died quite suddenly...he said, "you know liz, we can just die at any moment."
this simple truth is one that we seldom think about. we rush about our lives and worry about so much. we focus on so many things that do not matter. we forget to simply be present and experience and instead worry about missing a television program or why someone hasn't emailed us back quickly enough or if people even like us.
jon and i were driving a few weeks ago and i was telling him some story about my childhood and i suddenly stopped and said something like, "if we only understood that we would want to remember every second." i wish i could tell my five-year-old self to breathe in a moment spent by lake edwin johnson learning to skip rocks. what were the sounds? the smells? how did my grandfather's hand feel when he touched my head to tell me i was doing great? i wish i could ask my five-year-old self to tell me about every second of that afternoon.
for a project i am working on, i have been spending time looking at old photos of my family. while doing this, i have been closing my eyes and trying to remember pieces of the moments captured and then writing about what i remember or what comes up as i look at the photo. such a beautiful exercise this is as i do believe so much is tucked inside this brain and heart i carry around with me. i do believe that even though we don't remember every second, we do remember so much. and these photos of our past, even before we came to be, make up pieces that make up us. i am going to share a few of these writings paired with photos every now and then (like i did here)...maybe you will want to join me with your own photos and memories...
and in this moment, as i sift through feelings and allow myself to sit in the quiet, i think about that first day of waking up in your new home feeling and i feel my face relax and my shoulders settle into my body and my heart opens just a bit. someone else's life is beginning. another couple has a story to tell and lives to live and perhaps even create. it is beautiful. it is the cycle of life.
(a little about the photos above. when we were in south carolina in april, i took a lot of photos inside and outside my grandparents' home. at some point, my brother picked up my camera and took a few. when i returned home, i found that we had both taken photos in this mirror in my grandparents' bathroom. i love this.)