How do we measure our life? All the moments which make up the whole of it. What markers can we point to? Was it the moment when we grew an inch or ran a winning race? Or when we lost our nerve or made an honest assessment of who we believe we are. Does it matter at all, and is it all random?
Growing up seemed to be a process in which I measured myself against those who were growing up alongside me. They were the physical manifestation of how I measured myself well before I put any context to it. Did what I feel or what surprised me or the wisdoms hidden from my consciousness, still affect my actions—the core of who I was becoming, or might have become, if only? Did activity alone become what defined me? At some of those low points in the process of growing up, my mother would say what she would repeat often.
You will grow into yourself. Your time will come. Your maturity will tap you on the shoulder and tell you that you have arrived. You will blossom as we all eventually do. You must be patient.
It has been seven years since Betty's death, nine since my husband died; twenty-seven years since my father's life came to an end and thirty-two since my mother died. Their words still linger, and I sometimes whisper back, "Have I. Did I, Can I, Will I?" I look at the faces of my contemporaries and see how we have changed. How some of us have slipped away. How time has not always been patient with us. I get curious middle-of-the-night thoughts. The few last night were, if not surprising or particularly new, enlightening to me. I suppose transcribing our letters for this book of remembrance drew me back in time. The recognition that even the closest and most important people in our lives do not stay. Moments that you feel eternal, turn out to be transient. Losing touch with Betty for all those years struck that chord. While we could not have been closer, that friendship only inhabited a particular time in life, then moved in different directions and finally faded away.