A week ago I was hanging out on that gallery in St. Lucia with my Kindle Fire, reading The Goldfinch and fully escaping for hours at a time from the world. Now I am back in the mix of my life, and though I miss the breeze stirring around me in any one of those chairs, and the sun falling around my shoulders, my life feels pretty darn good today.
I've lost the five pounds I regained while in St. Lucia, and during Aunt Winnie's memorial weekend when, as my cousin Karen put it, everyone seemed to be eating "for sport." The pounds come off me so incredibly slowly, but I will continue to engage in the effort as my eating choices are now so much more healthy and wholesome, and my consumption of sugar is way down and snacking has all but disappeared. Cheese, of course, is a staple, but that's just going to be the case, because it is perhaps the one food that I can have a bit of and feel completely satisfied. The odd thing is, I am down almost 50 pounds since I started three years ago, and down 38 pounds since I recommitted last August, but no one has noticed really. I guess I still look the same and I certainly still have a very long way to go. But I'm not stressing about that. I am focused only on the trend being downward and the food I consume being whole and not overly processed—"food that remembers where it came from" as my daughter puts it—and that is all.
Aunt Grace calls me often these days. I am realizing that all her sisters are now unable to engage in the long phone conversations they used to have. Two have passed away and the other three are more frail than she is, and are sometimes confused, so I think she is trying to connect to them through their daughters. I love her calls, which are usually early in the morning, the phone waking me for the day, her voice like musical bells on the other end of the line. This morning she asked me for a hard copy of my book, and I explained to her that it doesn't exist three-dimensionally; it's an ebook. And then we talked about the worry I'd had about sharing it with family, who I thought might be distressed that I'd aired our family business so publicly. She said, "My darling, you are a writer, and writers tell their stories. Your mother always understood." She eased my heart immeasurably.
One of my cousins posted photos from last weekend on Facebook today. Here's one of my love and me with our daughter and our niece, who made the trip from D.C. where she is in dental school.
My heart son E was also in attendance. He traveled down from college in upstate New York to be at Aunt Winnie's memorial. We didn't know he was coming until he and his mother and older brother slipped into the pew where we were just as the service was about to start. I was touched that it mattered enough for him to make the trip. That's his bearded bow-tied self with my son in the photo above. And here's another family photo, this one of some of the cousins, who I can already see have learned to shore each other up just as their parents' and grandparents' generations have done, and still do.