Curious cases

For starters, thank you all so much for your kind words on the last post.  It meant a lot to me and my family.  (They all read the blog, you know.)

Going up to Rochester was as I expected.  The drive was long, but the family time in the van was fun.  We played word games and fiddled with the satellite radio, and ate at the diner on Route 17 that both my parents used to go to, even before they met. When we got there, it was cold and snowy.

It was nice to see my aunt, uncle and cousin, who all bear a striking family resemblance, and haven’t changed much in the years since I’ve seen them.  We actually did have things to talk about, despite being from such different places.  Because there’s a good chance we may never see each other all together again, I’m glad we were all able to make the trip, even for a sad occasion.

My grandfather was entombed with my grandmother after a minister gave a few readings and my father said some lovely things about the opportunities that his dad gave to all of his kids and grandkids, who all got to go to college, unlike grandpa, who missed that opportunity when he enlisted in the Marines to fight in World War II.

And as for me, I wasn’t very sad, but I have been thinking about mortality a lot more in the past few days.  I wish that I could believe that there’s something more after we die.  I would love to get to meet everyone again in the next life, or get a chance to do or say some things over again.  But there’s only one certain thing about death, and it’s that no one has ever come back from it to tell us what’s there.  So I believe that it’s important to live life as if it’s going to be 100% over when it’s over. To me, that means making each moment important, and treating people like I would have them treat me.

I don’t always follow that belief, because there are many things I’ve said or done, that even while I’m saying or doing them, I regret.  There are friends and family that I don’t call enough despite enjoying their company, and people who have touched my life, and I’ve never told them.  This event was a good reminder that the living years are all we have, and we best use them wisely.

Since I was already in a contemplative sort of mood and at the mall on an unrelated mission, I saw “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” last night.  I thought was great, especially for how I was feeling.  We’re all getting older (goodness, I turn 31 next week, and I feel like the gray hairs and wrinkles just got the party invite.)  In this movie as you probably know, Benjamin Button gets younger, but just in his body.  His life begins as a blank slate full of wonder and curiosity, and he becomes wiser as he becomes younger.  It’s more than just a gimmicky plot device, it’s a fascinating way to look at a life, and the trappings of the few years we get.  I highly recommend it if you have three hours to kill.

I know I said it before, but thanks again for your kind words, and I’d like to repay the favor by taking some time to catch up on all the blog reading you guys left me over the past two weeks!


15 responses to this post.

  1. I haven’t read blogs in the past 2 weeks, either, so I just learned about your grandfather. I’m very sorry for your loss and hope it’s the only one you experience this new year.

  2. I wanted to see Benjamin Button as well, but I’ve been putting it off for a moment when I’m feeling particularly contemplative. At three hours, maybe it’s a better Netflix rental.

    I’m glad you’re back!

  3. Again, my sympathies on your grandfather.

    I’ve often thought we should be born with all the knowledge we ever need and just enjoy the ride as we make our way through life. I guess that doesn’t leave much in the way of learning and growing into a better person though.

  4. I hear that the movie is a love/hate kind of movie, so I might not go see it at all.

    You should see Milk.

  5. What an interesting way of looking at life and death. I always enjoy hearing your philosophical thoughts, Noelle. 🙂

    I’ve been meaning to see Benjamin Button since it came out. I’ll have to do that soon.

  6. I (and many others) frequently say, Youth is wasted on the young. Now I will have to see BB to see if this is true.

    I hate losing loved ones but I always enjoy the resulting get-togethers of friends and family that otherwise I would never see. Definitely happy-sad.

  7. Posted by Jess on January 5, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Word. Thinking about mortality began in earnest for me last year around this time when we found out my Dad had cancer. They caught it early and he had a successful surgery in April and is doing well. But it got me thinking about a lot of those things that you described above. And it’s good to be reminded of those things every now and again, so thank you for sharing.

  8. Was it, by chance, the Roscoe Diner? For some reason, it’s the place to be if you’re on 17.

    I’ve been having similar thoughts about mortality lately – mainly that it must be nice to believe there was more after death. But wishing I could believe that doesn’t equal shutting off the logic center of my brain that just doesn’t.

    I’m glad you had a nice visit. Sorry we didn’t get to grab coffee. I know how busy events like that get.

  9. i’ve been looking over my life recently, and surprised by some of the things i’m regretting, like keeping in touch with certain people, etc. the new year is a great time to figure out how we can make the most of what we have left.

  10. I was just thinking I’ve been moping in this end-of-year melancholy for long enough now and it’s time to snap out of it, but all those reflective words are making it tough to do that! That said, your point is well taken. It’s important to make the most of our time.

    And I’m sorry about your grandfather. I read that earlier but was interrupted before I could comment. I don’t have any grandparents left either, and that’s sad no matter how close you were or weren’t.

  11. I have been away for the last few days and so I am just now catching up on my blog reading. I am so sorry for your loss. I used to have five Grandparents (Grandma on my Dad’s side and both Grandparent’s and Great Grandparents on my Mom’s side), as of tow years ago that number has dwindled down to one. I miss all of them terribly, but always feel incredibly lucky to have had them in my life!

    I am sending you virtual hugs! And as for turning 31, don’t worry I got there three weeks ago to make sure it was ready for you (think of me as your very own, it’s very nice, but the pillows are a little hard and, as I am a carnivore, I’m not sure how the vegetarian options are.

  12. I think you’ve got a great attitude toward living life. It’s sad that more people who do believe in something beyond death don’t approach life the same way you do.

    That movie sounds very intriguing. I may have to make one of my rare trips to the theater to see it. Thanks.

  13. Posted by Flo on January 6, 2009 at 11:16 am

    I’m glad that you were able to enjoy time with your family and I’m sorry for your family’s loss, not the best way to start the new year. I loved Benjamin Button, it was beautiful and thoughtful and well, sad.

  14. How many ways can I say “well said”?

  15. Very interesting post. I just finished a book that was about the Greek Gods and Godesses in modern times and it had an interesting take on the Underworld. I kind of hope it is like that and we all get to still hang out!

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