On Tuesday last, this remarkable book by an extraordinary soul arrived in the mail. It was Cicely Tyson's pub day. Two nights later, my friend, who wrote the book with Ms. Tyson, called to say that this legend for the ages lay her head down in her home one last time and slipped away. She looked peaceful, I heard, like she was just taking a nap. I have no doubt the iconic Ms. Tyson was satisfied that her work on this earth was done. My friend spent two years collaborating with her to craft her definitive memoir, the only one she would ever write, and two days after it was out in the world, setting the record of her ninety-six years straight, she was gone. What a race she ran, and with such beauty, elegance, and noble grit. Now she earns her rest, perhaps reunited with the not-ever-easy love of her life, Miles Davis, whose last words before he died, many years ago now, were, "Please tell Cicely I'm so very sorry." Their relationship, their marriage, was a lot, but she forgave him, just as she forgave a world that didn't always see her light. In the end, what mattered most was that she knew she was worthy. And for almost a century, she gifted that worth to the world. What a grace it has been to live at the time she was here with us. Thank you for your life, Ms. Tyson. You made us better.
It snowed all day yesterday and into this morning, piling eighteen inches of snow on the ground. It looks beautiful, but it doesn't alter my mood, which is anxious, maybe depressed, certainly sad, for reasons I choose not to go into here, an estrangement in the family that will not be healed, I see that now, and I am wrestling with the truth that sometimes, you have to just let things be what there are, to release the need to feel heard, understood, to have your side of the story validated, to let what feels like unforgivable emotional gaslighting go unchallenged, because you know how it all went down, and that has to be enough. But while I usually have this decade old story tucked away in a box inside myself, a new communication this week blew that box to smithereens, and had my daughter sobbing, my son angry, my husband sad for them both, but resigned, and me, well, I'm over here picking up the pieces, rebuilding that box so I can tuck what could have been, but will never be, safely inside again, with renewed acceptance, and yes, also love.
Our son just called. He knows the parking lot for our complex is being resurfaced, so for the past month we have been obliged to park our car on the street, wherever my husband can find a spot, hopefully on the right side for alternate side of the street cleaning days. It's a pain for anyone who's had the rare privilege in the city of a permanent parking spot, even if we do pay the equivalent of a small apartment rental to keep it. So this afternoon our son called because it occurred to him that with all the snow, our car was buried and also likely snowploughed in, and we don't own a shovel. "I have an ice spade," my husband said, to which our son replied, "I can tell you right now that's not going to work for digging out your car. You've always had the parking spot, so you don't have any experience with street parking. I'm just calling to let you know I'll be over tomorrow to dig the car out, because I do park on the street, and I do own a shovel." What a considerate, darling, if slightly bossy boy! "Well, son, it seems we did something right with you," I said in gratitude, and we all three burst out laughing. "I have to look out for you old folks," our boy parried, but I have to say, he made us feel so cared for. It hadn’t occurred to either of us to seek his help but there he was, anticipating our need, as usual.