I decided to go out to my mom’s grave today. I didn’t really have much else to do and I was just driving around in the snowstorm waiting for Alex to get off work. I rarely go out there because honestly I don’t get much out of being there anyway and my mom always said we’re just a bag of soul, so in reality, I know she’s not there. But I do find some solace in knowing her body is out there, being that I do still have some strange attachment to those things physical, as I believe most of us do.
Nonetheless, I sat there in my car, watching her grave under a foot of snow, music lightly playing in the background, and for a moment, I felt something, but I know it wasn’t her. She’s not there.
After I picked up Alex I told him I had gone out to the grave. Having a wonderful sense of humor that he knows I can appreciate he asked me if my mom was cold, as in “Do you think she’s cold out there?” I laughed and explained that strangely, I had thought about that while I was sitting there. Sometimes my mind goes to the strangest places.
As I drove away, Alex played on his phone and I imagined for a second that I was somehow having a conversation with my mother on this very topic and what she would say. “Oh honey,” she would laugh, “we’re just not that tangible. We’re just a bag of soul and we’re on borrowed time as it is.” And then I remembered that she got it from an old movie she loved…”On Borrowed Time”. Somehow, like many of her Bobbieisms, as we called them, it just stuck.
But what’s scarier is that I think she used it as a reminder that life really is short. Too short. Yesterday, I started making a list, inspired by the television show The Buried Life, of all of the things I wanted to do before I died. See Niagra Falls. Stand on the edge of Grand Canyon. Have my book published. Have a song written about me. And after a put my pen down I realized that these things didn’t really matter at all because they just emphasized the glass half empty not half full. And today I choose to live with the glass half full. Well, almost full actually. I have so much to do and so many small things I like to enjoy that life has become about enjoying the small details and trying not to get boggled down in all of the crap, as my mom used to eloquently refer to it.
The living dead; those people who don’t realize our time is an evaporating resource, are the scariest of all. Walking around, taking for granted the people and the opportunities they have in their lives. Not enjoying the taste of a birthday cupcake or the smell of the fresh snow, even if it’s on a grave. I like those details. Even now, as I write this, candles lit all around the room, a little John Coltrane on the stereo, Alex and the puppies upstairs…I am in love with my life.
Last week, while at dinner, I had a moment of true time appreciation. “If this was our life, for the rest of our lives together, would you be happy? Would you be content?” I asked him, hopeful, as I watched him think about it for a minute. “Well, I really want to live somewhere warm.” He said honestly. “But yes,” he said, looking at me across the table, “this would be enough”. And then he went back to eating, not much of a romantic. But that’s ok. I’m learning to be appreciative of the small things. I like writing about him. It makes me happy. It fills my cup. He inspires me to be alive, which is great because what I realize is that once…I was The Living Dead. But no more.
And all of us can change. We’ll be in snow covered graves soon enough and even if we leave a legacy, who could possibly know the details that meant so much…like the sound of a rainstorm on the roof at 3am or the feel of wet grass under your barefeet or laughing so hard with a friend you feel like you’re going to pee or crying so hard that you know, you just know, you’re alive. To me, that is living…and you better get to it soon, because we’re on borrowed time as it is!