tonight i was visiting auntie gail's blog, encouraged by the love her people are pouring out to her as she suffers the loss of her oldest brother's passing.
i saunter over to her post about seth godin ("my two cents: why seth godin shouldn't quit", august 26). one of my favorite authors as well, i am drawn into the lively conversation she and her readers are having about the value of traditional books. a passionate reader, and holder, of physical books, this new awareness -- that seth may indeed be saying goodbye to published works -- would normally send me into a flurry of research to discover just exactly what the guy is up to. but tonight i find myself only loosely intrigued. this i attribute to the day's rather dulled emotional state (at 11:45 pm tonight, sister cheryl notes we've achieved "the 24 hour landmark"). a vague interest, that is, until a reader about 18 comments deep grabs me and holds on tight:
wow, annie binns. in six simple sentences i am transported again to dad's bedside last night. the closing of my dad's eyes when his life here is no more, the holding of my face tight against his chest, the closing of my own eyes as my tears escape. i breathe in the very last of him, i take in his breath that wooshes out as he closes out this life and enters into the next.
I could never give up the tangible, bound book. I, too, highlight Seth’s and a few others’ books with yellow and blue and even stick Post-It tabs on their pages. But the part I really can’t give up is an age old habit when I finish a good book. I close the pages and hold it tight next to my chest like I’m giving it a hug. I don’t know why I have always done that. I close my eyes while it’s right there and try to breathe in the very last words of wisdom that woosh out of it as it closes.
perhaps the closing of a good book, with all its wisdom tucked within, is quite like the closing of a good life. gratitude for all that was given, and sorrow to have arrived at the end. the urge to re-read the highlights, to experience again the highs and lows of the story as it captures us and teaches us a little, or a lot, about life.
dad, my life feels heavy without you here with us.
thank you, loved ones, for all you have given, and will continue to give, to us.