There tends to be a theme (and quite a bit of wisdom) in Mitch Albom's novels...perhaps that's why I find myself drawn to them so much.
It's been hard not to think of his books recently in light of a few things...
First, I literally just finished re-reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and I pre-ordered the sequel coming out this fall. Without giving too much away, the main character, Eddie, goes to heaven and meets five people who help him look back on his life and make sense of it. It is such a great reminder of how each life affects so many other lives. (In that sense, it's similar to "It's a Wonderful Life," but I digress...)
Second, with my sister's wedding coming up (and with my graduation from grad school having just passed), it's hard to celebrate such momentous occasions without any of our grandparents who played such meaningful roles in our lives growing up. I know they would be beaming with pride and joy.
Third, after I got back from my roadtrip out west, my dad called with the news that my great aunt (Marg, the Great) had passed away. I took the news harder than I expected, and when her birthday card was returned in the mail unopened and with the words "no longer lives at this address" scrawled on the envelope, I realized that in all of the times I had gone to see her, I had taken it for granted that there would always be one more time...but there wasn't.
No one seems to like to talk about death. It's scary to think about one's own mortality or the mortality of people you love. But without recognizing that, I think we leave a lot of things unsaid, a lot of phone calls unmade, a lot of visits made grudgingly. And it seems that every time we may learn this lesson, we put it to the side, and we have to learn it all over again the next time. (At least, that's been the case for me.)
The good thing in all of this, though, is that my family is pretty good at telling stories - "Remember that time when grandma..." or "Your grandfather always said..." And so, they live on.
Love lives on.
Sorry to seem like such a downer today - it's just something that's been on my mind. To end on a happier note, though...
My sister came to see my new school (and to help me lug some boxes of books and such up the stairs to my office)...and to make her first trip to The Original Rainbow Cone.
Later in the evening, we joined up with her fiance and some other friends to see "Waitress," which is playing downtown till Sunday. Funny and full of energy, I highly enjoyed it. (It was definitely a good call to watch the movie (non-musical) and jam out to the music (Sara Bareillis!) beforehand.)
Finally, since grad school is officially over, I have had time to stop and smell the flowers. It's good to get some breathing time before the final preparations for my sister's wedding...