So I haven’t been posting the way that I had imagined that I would after the BEA Bloggers Conference – a longer review every Monday and then a shorter post Wednesday or Thursday with Instagram photos along the way.
But then life can surprise you.
This past week I’ve been face to face with end of life issues in my own family. My 103 year old grandmother, who has never had a health problem in her life (seriously, she started weight lifting after 90 years old because her daily swim wasn’t enough of a weight-bearing exercise) had a stroke on Tuesday night. She had a very clear medical directive written and so once the doctor determined that she was probably not going to be able to swallow again, it was time to let her go.
While I’m sad that I wasn’t able to see her before she died and my heart is grieving, my head knows that this is exactly what she would have wanted. The last year or so she has been ready to let go. Life was just no longer bringing her the joy that it once had despite nothing being physically wrong with her. She was just tired out.
One of the habits that made me sad to see in these past few years is that she had started reading old Danielle Steele novels. My grandmother had been an assistant superintendent in the Beverly Hills school district, and an avid reader of books about current events and biographies all throughout my childhood. As she got towards the end, she just wanted to read novels where she didn’t have to pay much attention to the plot. In my eyes, these reading choices betrayed her dynamic mind, but I also had to respect that we each have seasons in our lives when different books bring us comfort and enjoyment.
One of her favorite books was “The Color of Water” by James McBride. She respected all of the sacrifices that McBride’s mother made for her children and thought that it was only fitting that McBride write an entire book celebrating her efforts. I had to chuckle that when I finally read the book it extensively discussed race relations, but that important topic didn’t even make it into my grandmother’s conversations about the book. Apparently living through a century of social change makes it unnecessary to comment on it.
So, while all of this has been happening (and let’s be honest-the week before too when I ditched you all for the Beyonce concert) I have been doing a lot of reading. I’ve got reviews of “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren, “Becoming Maria” by Sonia Manzano, “The Whipping Boy” by Allen Kurzweil, “Dear Mr. You” by Mary Louise Parker, and “Seven Good Years” by Etgar Keret in my head, ready to write and share with you.
I look forward to getting back on track with this blog and continuing on this journey with you.
In Loving Memory of Marcella, 1912-2016