“That old lady, we went to her party, what was her name?”


“Right. Isabel. You grandma. I love her. I miss her so much.” My daughter, who has been happily rambling the ears off my head for the past 45 minutes nonstop, is suddenly in tears. Over someone she met twice.

“She was my great aunt, not my grandma. Mimi’s aunt. She was a sweet lady. You met Pop and Gran at the family reunion. And you saw Gran at Pop’s funeral. Remember? Or maybe you don’t. You were so little. Baby Kai was in my tummy at Pop’s funeral, and he was a little baby at Gran’s. We spent the whole service upstairs both times. Remember the upstairs?”

“I remember. Who Pop again?”

“Poppy’s dad — well, stepdad. Gran was Poppy’s mom.”

“Right. I don’t remember them.” She pauses. “But still I love them.”

Just like that, the storm is gone. She’s off on other topics. But the emotional lash still reverberates. She loved these people. And to them she barely registered, so ashamed they were by how I chose to bring her into the world.

Family yea verily sucks sometimes.

But they’re also a good barometer for what’s important. Because she remembers their memory, and Kai remembers nothing of them at all, and after that their memory will be dust. They will be names in the family tree, yellowed photos in albums — nothing more. Their house is gone. Everything they worked for, gone. All that’s left is who they touched while they were alive and soon we, too, will be gone.

Focus on today. Love people today. Be happy today. Tomorrow we’ll be dust.


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