I was watching a scene from the 1987 movie called the Whales of August. In it one of the main characters named Sarah (Lillian Gish) sits down at her vanity to pretty herself before her gentleman dinner guest (Vincent Price) arrives. (Mind you Sarah is a 92 year old woman). As she sits down at her vanity you see her long, fine, white hair cascading down her back and she quickly and efficiently twists it up into an expert bun with her old arthritic hands. Then she grabs a fuzzy white powder puff and dabs her face quickly with it before leaving to set the table. As I watched this scene I was painfully reminded of my little old grandmother's desire to still feel beautiful and I immediately bust into tears. Literally. That's not something that I'm capable of doing on command, but nevertheless...I did it.
My grandmother is still alive, gingerly walking around on this planet in what has got to be the midnight hours of her life. She is 88 years old, (me thinks) and as of last month has now out-lived her two younger sisters and almost all of her generation in our family, save a few cousins in South America and Rhode Island.
I can't imagine what it must be like to live that long. Longer than the rest. To live long enough to watch your entire generation disappear and be the last. She is the last remaining Matriarch of our family and when she goes, it will be the end of an era. I think my childhood will officially be just a memory as having her here on this earth keeps my past alive somehow. She is part of my very early memories of life.
She is the embodiment of the spoon full of sugar I used to steal from her sugar bowl when no one was looking.
She is the pearl earrings and necklace that once were hers but are now mine because she gave them to me.
She is the sunny side up egg and Taylor Ham if I ever taste it.
She is the winter hat I never wanted to wear, but now I wear it.
She is Frank Sinatra's New York, New York whenever I hear it.
She is the old widow who gave her "two mites" whenever I read it.
I wonder if maybe those silly things will help me to somehow tangibly feel her when she is gone. Like the feeling you get when you watch old family movies that are still on the reel or an old VHS. The thing is, once they're gone, it's never the same anymore. The hole that is left will never go away--but can only be filled in by the healing balm of time which one hopes will make the pain in missing someone stop; and only leave a dull ache at the after thought.
Such is the way of life...and death I suppose.
I'm gently reminded of this scripture that the apostle Paul wrote reminding the church at Corinth:
For he (the Lord) says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2/ Isaiah 49:8)
All we have is today. So let us redeem the time. Why? Because today is the day of Salvation.