I opened up a box tonight. Among some Tupperware and a Christmas decoration I found a few books at the bottom. Mom had a bookmark in one and some highlights in the other. She was speaking to me. She was speaking to us all.
The first book was entitled Beyond Time by Gwen Frostic. A book of poems given to mom from her Aunt Ruth. Ruth is my Great Aunt. She gave us all a different book by Gwen years ago. This is the poem she had bookmarked:
Each individual must develop a
flexibility to adapt to adversity....
and a wondrous resilience
and capacity to heal itself...
There will be great competition
from those of its own....
it will fight for life
and room for its survival...
It will not
give its life for another...
that is not a choice
any living thing can make...
Life is precarious
it demands vigor and fitness
coming to terms with limitations..
It demands living without rejection
that all time and energy be spent on growth...
It begins with beauty
it must fulfill that promise
or perish along the way.
Next I found I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron. We both loved Nora and I read this book after Mom did. We loved reading the same books so we could talk about the good parts or things we liked or didn't like. We liked doing crossword puzzles together too. I liked when she would get a good start and then I'd sit down in her chair and pick up the pen and finish what I could. We liked playing Scrabble together and watching our favorite movies over and over. (The Family Stone, Moonstruck, Something's Gotta Give, It's Complicated, Sex & the City)
This is the first quote from Nora's book that was highlighted: (The chapter is entitled "Parenting in Three Stages")
"Meanwhile, every so often, your children come to visit. They are, amazingly, completely charming people. You can't believe you're lucky enough to know them. They make you laugh. They make you proud. You love them madly. They survived you. You survived them. It crosses your mind that on some level, you spent hours and days and months and years without laying a glove on them, but don't dwell. There's no point. It's over.
Except for the worrying.
The worrying is forever."
The next chapter is entitled "What I wish I'd Known" and among Nora's list Mom highlighted:
"You never know."
"Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at age forty-five."
In "Considering the Alternative" chapter mom highlighted:
"Why do people write books that say it's better to be older than to be younger? It's not better."
"When you cross into your sixties, your odds of dying-or of merely getting horribly sick on the way to dying-spike." "Meanwhile, your friends die, and you're left not just bereft, not just grieving, not just guilty, but utterly helpless. There is nothing you can do. Everybody dies."
"As for instructions for my funeral, I suppose I could come up with a few." "And champagne would be nice, I love champagne. It's so festive. But otherwise I don't have a clue."
Love you Mom. xo