The logical part of my mind knows that superstitious habits can’t control fate, but I cling to those tricks anyway. That’s why I buy a new address book each year. (I still use paper rather than digital, which more efficient people utilize.) There’s always at least one – or more – names that have to be deleted, since family and friends aren’t immune to death. There might also be a friend who’s alive, but the friendship isn’t.
For the first time I don’t want to delete one of the obsolete names, for the list now includes my sister. I look at the page where her name, street address, land line and mobile phone numbers are written, and suddenly I don’t want an address book that doesn’t have this information. It’s not that I’m deluded enough to phone those disconnected numbers, although I still know them by heart. But they provide a deeper connection to someone I’m not ready to part from.
How many of us do this, not necessarily through an address book, but some memento – an item of clothing or jewelry worn by the person we’re missing. It’s our effort to preserve what we were unable to keep. Isn’t this what we all do, in one way or another? It reminds me of my childhood, when I built elaborate sand castles at what I hoped was a safe distance from the encroaching tide. But the sea always won and I was left with just the memory of my castle.
Sometimes the memento we choose is one no one else understands. When my niece asked what I wanted of my sister’s multitude of possessions I said, “the kitchen witch.” She’s a small figure hanging from a cupboard hook, and she’s far from appealing with her grotesque face and stringy gray hair. The first time I saw her hanging in my sister’s kitchen I joked, “She looks like me.” My sister said, “She sure does,” and we both laughed. That’s what I’m really trying to hold on to, the sound of our laughing together.
The reality is that probably we will all have to delete more names before the end of this new year. Even if we write them in indelible ink we’re not the ones who will decide the story. Fate is a more merciless author, one whose verdicts we’re unable to revise.
I have a small quartz rock on my desk, a gift from my partner, who is gone, too. On it, the single word, ACCEPTANCE.
We can’t escape our inevitable losses. What’s important is what we are able to save within ourselves ¬ – or are strong enough to surrender.
BOOKS: COME and GO – available through BookBaby.com, WIDOW’S WALK –iUniverse.com; TURNING TOWARD TOMORROW –Xlibris.com, TEN WOMEN OF VALOR and ROLE PLAY- available through CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com; also Amazon Kindle.