It goes like this...
Emily and George grow up in Grover's Corners, fall in love (it's a very sweet courtship), and are married. A few years after their wedding, Emily dies during childbirth leaving her son motherless and her husband without his sweetheart and partner in life. This scenario was probably common enough 100 years ago when this story takes place, but to someone actually living it, it's anything but common. The pain we experience from loss is unique to us and losing a loved one is never easy, never.
Emily crosses over and is among the dead in her town, including many that she knows. It is here that she asks if she can have just one more moment back, to relive a memory in her life on earth. Going back does not turn out how she expects. These are her words...
"I can't go on. It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back--up the hill--to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look.
"Goodbye, goodbye, world. Goodybye, Grover's Corners...Mama and Papa. Goodbye to clocks ticking...and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths...and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you."
And then she asks this question...
"Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?--every minute?"
The simplicity of Thorton Wilder's message has never left me, and from time to time Emily's question haunts me.
This is one of those times.
I received word yesterday that a dear friend of mine lost her husband unexpectedly. This friend and I worked together last year, which bonds people pretty tightly, especially in the teaching world. I ate lunch with her everyday, and felt like I knew her well--her stories, her struggles, her happiness--all that stuff you learn over a sack paper lunch.
It broke my heart to hear that this is her new reality. Of course I started to think about my own life and what I maybe don't realize, enjoy, and relish on a daily basis.
I am sort of obsessed with my husband. I love him more everyday and always strive to let him know this by telling him constantly and showing him in ways he appreciates. I still pinch myself that we found each other in the crazy sea out there and that he is mine forever. With that said, it can be hard to maintain the twitterpated nature of a relationship, especially in marriage when you see each other EVERY day, are comfortable with one another, pee in front of each other, etc. etc.
So here are some things I want to always remember and not take for granted. When I have a quiet moment, and I go to my special place, this is where I want to go...
The night he told me I was the only one he ever wanted to be with, ever. Sweetly and simply...he was done looking. We were gazing over the City of Angels on a balcony at the Getty. It was one of the most romantic moments of my life.
Going for a drive in April with snow in the mountains and lots of green rolling hills.
That Thanksgiving a few years back before any of my siblings were married. We spent it at Uncle Joe's between an incredibly comfortable sectional and a yummy smelling kitchen. Prepare meal, watch the game, repeat. It was the freshest weekend in the books.
The tear that rolled down my cheek as my sisters helped me put on my wedding dress. Me at my emotional peak.
That place between my husband's shoulder and neck that was custom made for my head.