One of those crazy things about life is the way we carry on with it, marching forward, like meticulously dressed robots, as if it will go on forever. Day in and day out we make our plans for the day and carry them out. The one and only thing all humans know and agree on is that every single one of us will die. The clock will tick down, the sand will run out of the hourglass, and the time we have here will come to an end.
From time to time I think of my Grandmothers. I think of conversations we had while they lived. I remember times we spent together. As I have grown and aged and changed, I want to know things. I wish that I had more conversations with them. Since I did not ask, I find myself piecing together the conversations we did have and the memories we shared as if I’m making a quilt out of threadbare patches of fabric. I try desperately to create something stronger and more substantial of each individual memory by knitting them together into a heavy blanket.
Oh, sure, I can ask questions about them to those that are still living. But what is lost to me is of great cost. The opportunity to ask them, to hear the words from their lips, to know how they felt and where they struggled when they experienced the great highs and lows of life is gone.
Maybe I was too young to know what to even ask when I could have. I was too busy being caught up in whatever I was caught up in, running from the past, desperately trying to build the future. I just know they held within them valuable insight. I wonder, were they waiting to share it with me? If I had only been interested enough to ask.
Now that I am interested, the chance has evaporated. It is gone like the morning mist that burns off in the glare of the midday sun. I stare at old photographs of them, wondering about the moments depicted in the tiny squares of glossy paper. What were they thinking? What did they hope for? What did they regret? What were they most proud of? I do not have the answers.
I would have loved to write their stories. To share the prismatic pieces of them, what made them who they were would have been a great joy. Instead, I take the pieces I stitch together and show them to my children. The photos cover my fridge, a daily reminder to soak up the minutes while I can. I try to find the ways to express who they were as women, and how they made me feel as best I can.
To you I say this, ask the questions. While you can.