I’ve never really spent that much time with an elderly person until recently. Perhaps I should rephrase that: I haven’t spent time with an elderly person as an adult, until very recently. (My childhood memory glosses over anything but warmly lit rooms, good feelings and candy.) I’ve established a solid feeling of gratitude for mobility, wits and good health. My grandmother is a terribly witty woman, downright opinionated at times, and can get around okay. Two knee replacements? No problem. She tells me often that she has nothing to complain about, because she has her mind, good family and her spirits about her. I can’t agree more, though I do have a whole new appreciation for automatic doors and ramps.
Lives lived, sometimes a hundred years, wrapped into fifty words. No sins remembered, no praises left out. There is something rather magical in the obituaries. Can one existence really be compartmentalized into a tiny box in the back of the newspaper? For a while I was creating a body of work [linky] based on remembered lives that I never knew, but eventually moved on for the sake of staying positive. I still read them often but struggle against the transference of my own experiences into the text. All of a sudden I feel the loss and my heart sags for a stranger.
My experiences lately have been fluttering around in my head like rabid bats and will hopefully escape into a new body of work. I’m still hashing out the details, but there is a spark at least. I’m quite excited to go back to the island, to have a place to work and play and hang out with this little guy!!