Grandma is dying, sometimes calmly, sometimes poignantly in a bed in my Mom & Dad Green’s living room. “I’m so happy, I’m so happy,” she said several times yesterday. I am too. I am glad that she is not dying slowly and/or painfully in a nursing home, but quickly and surrounded by family.
“Now it’s your turn to hold Reality together,” I told Mom. Me, I’ve been forgetting pots and pans on the stove during this time. Three times in three days. I think I’m taking a little vacation from conventional aspects of Reality to handle some shaman duties like rainmaking.
I’m doing a lot of thinking about tribe, family–the good aspects of it and community. I’d like for us to reclaim community, tribe, family. Not the ill parts of nationalism, but more of a global thing yet also local. Refined, iterative, nuanced, compassionate, discerning. I’d like for us to reconnect with the lost tribe of extended family.
I think social media and the Internet is a great way to reconnect families that have been estranged from each other by virtue of distance and the frenetic pace of how we have been living.
Seeing Dad Green hold my cousin’s head on Skype screen, seeing her talk with Grandma swaddled in bed… “I love you, I love you, I love you” and tears flying at the screen. The immediacy of it so heartwrenching but beautiful. We editorialized a bit and my cousin said, “We don’t yet have etiquette for this, do we.”
It is valid, this part of modernity. We should claim it and know how to apply it wisely. We should. Let us see our families’ faces again. Let’s forget about TV but instead use these other screens–let’s connect face to face again. Slowly, calmly, wisely, discerningly. I am vowing to Reality to do so.
One of the things we used to do when we lived in smaller communities was to talk about tribal matters together. I think one of the big issues facing our tribe is how we obtain energy. So around Grandma’s bed in my Mom & Dad Green’s living room, I talked with family yesterday about the fracking issue, and how it is important to protect our holy waters.
My brother is marrying next month. I am so happy about this. I’m so happy, I’m so happy.
I worked all weekend on Grandpa’s memoir to get it through another edit so that Grandma can see it before she dies and know that the family is getting copies ASAP. The proof will arrive today or tomorrow and as soon as it gets here I’m rushing it over to her.
I am glad that Grandpa’s memoir and Smith’s memoir are both being printed at the same time. I feel so blessed with these projects.
The name of Grandpa’s memoir is “Learning to Swim,” humorously, after his having been born in a toilet. But the title is a metaphor for life. It’s about being thrown into life and making the most of it the best way one can, as he did.
Here’s my back cover blurb:
Thurman James Ireland was born in a toilet in Cleveland and came of age during the Great Depression. Checker Ice Cream Bar vendor, automobile mechanic, World War II Veteran, proprieter of Ireland’s Garage, father and foster father, Appalachian Trail Scoutmaster, de facto engineer for Ingersoll Rand and role model to many, he built his own house and practiced the philosophy of living life completely.
Readers can benefit from his down-to-earth, pragmatic wisdom and self-taught, articulate manner of explaining reality. His tales of problem-solving with Ingersoll Rand show life and work are not just “by the book” but totally hands-on and interconnected with the human condition.