Two days before my mother’s funeral in April, our son Nathan and daughter-in-law Rachel made an announcement: Henry and I were about to become grandparents! It was the best thing we could have heard at that time, and it lifted us out of the depths of overwhelming grief. The baby would be due early in October, they said.
This week, we learned that the Universe had a different plan. Rachel went into the hospital on Sept. 23, the first day of Fall, and gave birth to our first grandchild, Olivia, that afternoon. It was also a day to remember my mother; Sept. 23 would have been her 93rd birthday. (There are some in the family who believe that my mother had a hand in this!)
Welcome, Olivia. We celebrate this new joy in our lives!
After the baby announcement in April, my poet–friend Kory Wells asked how I was reacting to the news of becoming a grandmother. “I know now that it’s possible to hold great sorrow and great joy at the same time,” I said, “and they don’t necessarily cancel each other out.”
Three months later, I was honored to hear those words echoed in Kory’s poem, “In Praise of Our Numbered Days,” at a bookstore reading. With her permission, I’ll share an excerpt:
IN PRAISE OF OUR NUMBERED DAYS
Food tastes better at the campfire.
We warm our hands, our backs
chill. This reminds us of happiness,
one turn, the warmth gone. How often
is the forecast wrong? Clearing skies portend
colder ground beneath our tent tonight.
For all we’ve packed and planned,
life’s more paradox than perfection.
You tell me it’s possible to hold
at once great sorrow and joy,
that one does not cancel the other
on some cosmic ledger. …
On this equinox, we celebrated a beautiful new life, and remembered a long life well-lived.