Note:  I wrote most of this post last Tuesday, but just got back to finish it in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

It’s a week today since Grandma died. The shock is diminishing and we have carved out a few bubbles of not really normalcy but times when we could focus on something else.

Saturday was my dad’s 91st birthday. B and I took Nana and Paco downtown to meet their youngest grandchild, our niece S, at the bus station. It is only a short jaunt down Interstate 81 from the campus where she is a first-year. We went to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, then back to Nana and Paco’s apartment to visit for a bit before we had to bring S to catch her bus back to campus. Paco’s three other grandchildren called during that time, including a skype call from our daughters E and T. It was our first time doing a group call with them. When Paco was growing up, if someone had told him that one day he would be able to communicate with his grandchildren in Syracuse and Honolulu at the same time, he would not have believed it.

Of course, we had not forgotten about Grandma during this time of focusing on Paco’s birthday. After we finished all visiting together on the skype call, B and I went into another room to talk with E and T about how things are going with them as we continue to deal with Grandma’s death. We also discussed trying to schedule a time for the burial later in the spring, which involves trying to work around several commencement dates and long-distance travel.

Another bubble of focusing on something else was Easter vigil on Saturday night. Although the liturgy deals with death and resurrection, it was a way to focus on belief and faith, rather than on my own little recent experience of death.

The third bubble has been the time spent trying to complete my first week of the MOOC I am taking. I was a good student back in the day and apparently my inability to skip out on assignments is still there. I honestly don’t know if I will be able to keep up, but I managed to complete the first week on time.


One-Liner Wednesday: live like the river

“I would love to live like a river flows….carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”
~ John O’Donohue

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday! Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/02/10/one-liner-wednesday-a-disco/

One-Liner(ish) Wednesday: Mary Oliver on poetry

“Poetry is a life-cherishing force, for poems are not words, after all, but fires for the coal, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread for the hungry.”
— Mary Oliver

I love this quote on poetry. One of the greatest compliments I have received as a poet was being told that one of my poems reminded someone of Mary Oliver.

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays! Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/20/one-liner-wednesday-its-not-what-you-think-2/

I am double-dipping this week with Linda’s Just Jot It January, hence, the uncharacteristic commentary on the one-liner quote. Find out more here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/20/just-jot-it-january-20th-surreptitiously/

JJJ 2016

To find the rules for Just Jot It January, click here and join in today.

One-Liner Wednesday: Writing

“Life is what makes it possible for you to write at all.”
— Patricia Skarda, professor emerita of English language and literature at Smith College, recalled by alumna Sarah Collins Honenberger ’74, when she complained to Pat that life was getting in the way of her writing (Smith Alumnae Quarterly, Volume 101, #3)

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays! Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/12/30/one-liner-wednesday-this-is-irony/.

One-Liner Wednesday: Campbell quote

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
– Joseph Campbell

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday! Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/08/05/one-liner-wednesday-either-im-really-short/

One-Liner Wednesday: Chittister quote

“To live is to be slowly born.”
– Sister Joan Chittister

Update:  I found out later that this quote originated with Antoine de Saint Exupéry. The interview that I saw with the graphic of the quote didn’t give the attribution so I didn’t realize that Sister Joan was quoting.

Please join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/04/29/one-liner-wednesday-aha/

One-Liner Wednesday: living

“We don’t think ourselves into a new way of living; we live ourselves into a new way of thinking.” – Richard Rohr

This is part of Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays. Join us!  http://lindaghill.com/2015/03/11/one-liner-wednesday-just-call-him-willy/

SoCS: The best years of my life

When I was in college, senior week/commencement happened at the same time as all the reunions. My house always hosted the 60th reunion, with alumnae staying in the rooms vacated by the undergrads. A few undergrads stayed to help out with the activities or because they were members of Glee Club and needed to stay to sing. Of course, all the seniors were there enjoying the campus for the last few days before graduating. I was always really taken by the vitality and zest for living of the alumnae there for their 60th – in their early 80s, they were excitedly meeting up to chat, climbing the stairs without seeming exertion, heading out to activities, and marching in the Ivy Day parade without any problems. My friends and I marvelled at their long-standing friendships, intelligence, wit, and wisdom and hoped that, in 60 years when it was our turn to be back there, we would be as gracious and engaged with life as they were.

The one comment that always gave me pause, though, was many of them saying that years at Smith are the best years of life.

We students had just all come through another hectic semester, filled with learning and friends and growth, but we were also often anxious, sleep-deprived, and overwhelmingly busy. I would think – please, no, tell me that this is not as good as life gets.

My mother-in-law would cite the years she was at home with her young sons as the best. I loved my own young daughters and was constantly amazed at their lives unfolding before me as I tried my best to care for them and help them learn about themselves and the world. But those years were also filled with lack of sleep, innumerable trips to the doctors’ office, budgetary wizardry, and mistakes – which, even though I tried to rectify them as quickly as I made them, still carry tiny twinges of regret. So, was that supposed to be the best?

Others nominate childhood or high school – no one seems to pick middle school – as the best years.  They somehow remember those times as carefree, but they are often times when young people are being pressured to conform to being members of groups that may not suit them well at all and are confronted with adult-size problems which their child or teen selves are not equipped to handle – and somehow adults expect them to make decisions like adults, which they decidedly are not.

I agree with my (very wise) mother. There is no “best age.”  Phases in life are certainly unique and have their own charms but they also have their own problems. I would not trade my years at Smith for anything. College was a unique experience. I learned so much about so many different topics but most of all I learned about myself. And I learned as much from my peers with whom I lived as I did from my professors. Being in a women’s college taught me so much respect and admiration for women’s capabilities and leadership. I don’t think I would be the same person were it not for those for years.

But that doesn’t make them “the best.”  That time was often difficult and sometimes lonely.  I missed my family and my boyfriend (now my spouse of 30+ years).  The intellectual work was stimulating, but also exhausting as I always tried to do my very best. Even at Smith, there were instances of lack of respect for women’s autonomy, especially in having to deal with church issues, which, as a Catholic organist, I frequently did.

The same mix of positives and negatives applies to other times of my life. None of them ever could or should be seen as “the best.”

What I feel called to do is to give my best and try my best at all times of life. There will always be some good even in the midst of bad times and some struggle even in good times.

But never any one time as “the best years of my life.”

This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. This week’s prompt was: young, old, or anything to do with age. Please join us! Details are at the link below.




Badge by Doobster @Mindful Digressions

One-Liner Wednesday – George Washington Carver quote

“How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong, because someday in life you would have been all of these.”
– George Washington Carver

This is part of Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday:  http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/one-liner-wednesday-now/ Join us! It’s fun!

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