A Rose in The Winter

I learned a new word today. Apparently the extra day that is added to the Julian calendar every four years is called a bissextus. It sounds kinda sexy, but to me it is just a cool reminder that we are blessed with an extra day this year. But the idea of having just one more day makes me think of something sad, something I am still dealing with but often push out of my mind because it still hurts–the passing of my grandma. It’s been almost two months now. She was old and I’m glad she isn’t suffering anymore. But I miss her. I miss how invested she was in simply asking about my life. I miss the smell of her kitchen, and seeing how happy she was when the whole family was there laughing and eating her food. I miss how she made me feel like my life was supremely important. I have no doubt that I will see her again in the next life, but it still hurts. I hate that she won’t be at my wedding, and I hate that she will never hold my children. But thus is life. We have to accept death and look back on lost life as a gift and a small glimmer of beauty and perfection that we can recall and smile about when life gets even tougher.

About six months ago my grandparents gave my parents their old green van, and I have driven it from time to time while my own car recuperates from its various ailments. A few weeks ago after grabbing a quick sandwich before work I hopped into the van, threw my backpack on the ground and was hit with a gust of wind from the past. The smell of the van entered my nostrils and immediately surged to my brain reminding me of my grandma. It’s weird how smells can transport you back to the most specific places of your childhood in a fleeting instant. I sat there, breathed in and cried a little. I haven’t cried much since the funeral. I guess I have just changed the subject in my mind when it came up. But that smell, that whiff of the past was too much.

Another instance hit me unexpectedly several days ago. I was visiting my tiny four-pound niece in the NICU when a very real moment crept up on me. I was saying goodbye to little Evelyn, kissing her tiny cheeks as she lay supine in her small hospital crib, listening to me as only an infant could. I started to talk to her. It’s funny how adults talk to newborns. We know they can’t understand us in any way, but we still tell them how precious they are to us, and how much we love them. Maybe it is just assuring to hear those words aloud. Or maybe we just feel that some portion of our love will be received or heard.

I said, “Evie, I love you, but I gotta go home now.” I kissed her soft little head one more time then said, “You met grandma up there, didn’t you?” I don’t know where this came from or if she did or didn’t meet my grandma before coming down early, but I started to cry looking at that tiny human and feeling the closeness between her and heaven, and took my slipping emotional state as a cue to excuse myself. I waved goodbye to my sister in a hurry, leaving before she could see my tears. Because like some people vomit upon seeing vomit, my sister cries on sight of tears. I scuttled out into the hallway and rubbed my eyes quickly, not wanting to break down in front of orderlies and nurses as I made my way to the parking lot.

I guess these little moments seem sad, but really it’s a beautiful thing to remember someone you love. James M. Barrie said, “God gave us memories so that we might have roses in December.” And even though sometimes it hurts so bad, I’m thankful to have those roses.

With any death that is close to you you are reminded of the fragility of life. I think about those last days in the hospital with my grandma, and I wish I could have just one more day with her. The truth is we don’t know how many days left we will have with anyone. And though a leap year doesn’t really extend my life any further, it reminds me how much can be done in one day, and how grateful I should be for each sunrise and each sunset. Be it a boring Wednesday in the dead of winter, or a sunny bissextus, let us not take for granted a single day.

 

grandma pic

A cute update of my life and upcoming book release

cute update 2

 

As 2015 passed into the annals of time to become another place only visited through memories and recollections I decided I wanted to write more. I wanted to post articles and blog posts several times a week. Now, it’s 43 days into the annus novus and I am making my first blog post of 2016.

I have been in a tailspin of sorts. My grandma who I kind of assumed would live forever passed away after a long battle in the hospital. Then mere days after, my sister’s water broke at 27 weeks. She didn’t go into labor for a few more weeks, but these were terrifying weeks of waiting and worry. Finally a tiny person was born, not even three pounds of human life. So I have spent my time driving an hour to the hospital and spending time with my little niece that lives in an incubator fighting to grow. All the while I am working full-time, trying to get a girl to hang out with me twice, and trying to finish my second book that has gotten the best of me over the past 6 months.

The other day in the middle of a cold dark night I typed the final sentence of my book, Return Not Desired. Iv’e been working on this piece of personal non-fiction for over a year now. I’ts crazy the things you feel when you finish writing a book. It feels a bit joyous, but also rather sad. Truman Capote said that, “Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.” Though I find this to be a bit dramatic, I see what he means. Now what? Now I have to concern myself with the tedium of editing, revising, and of course publishing. I just want to write everyday and leave that literary minutia to others. But I am not that cool or famous yet. Yet.

This was my attempt to update. In summation, I have been busy and finally finished my precious manuscript. The editing process is fully underway thanks to some very talented people I have entrusted. Now as soon as my baby is polished and receives its final coat of proofing varnish the publishing process will proceed. This is where potential delays might occur resulting in my infuriation and subsequent frustration in realizing that infuriation isn’t a word.

The goal is to obtain an agent and publish with a major press as soon as possible. But I will not deprive the world of my book for very long. A self-published version will be released as soon as possible. I plan to have a book release party where copies will be available of my first book and the newly completed Return Not Desired: Thoughts on The Holocaust and Life. Stay tuned for announcements and updates on this blog and my other social media outlets.

Insta- @taylorchurch44     @taylorchurchbooks

Electronic mail- taylorchurchbooks@gmail.com

 

Deuces.