Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Remembering the Vortex: Another Last

A Book of Lasts
originally posted September 25, 2007

Something resonated with me a few days ago as I'm preparing a member of my family for a rite of passage in our faith. Naturally, thoughts turn to other times I've made a similar journey in the past. Times when the merest notion of "firsts" called for celebration. First steps. First words. Even first teeth elicit a special road marker along the side of the road each of us must travel.

But with time, as it does most other things in our lives, those firsts slip away, a fond memory recalled in less frequent moments as the years stretch on. In place of first words, the infinite cacophony of questions or complaints or merely the lyrics to a song unimaginable in that captured moment in the past, take over and the memory slips into black and white and shades of gray. Instead of first steps toward you, they sprint away in their independence.

But if there is a book tucked away of "firsts" for each of us, a memoir of childhood to be brought out and dusted off, what if there were a book of "lasts"? The last time we kissed our spouse. The last words exchanged between an elderly parent and a grown child. The last glimpse we had of our child. How different we would live our lives. How much we would savor each moment as it slides into the next. How much we would yearn for the next to never come.

Without time travel, there can be no known books of lasts. Thankfully, perhaps. A safe, albeit unsure, reminder of what is to come, we remain ignorant of these road markers, knowing they exist somewhere in the grand scheme of fate or merely the inevitability of our lives.

What did you do today as if it were written in your book of lasts?

I chose to repost The Book of Lasts on blogaversary week for selfish reasons. I'd forgotten its message. In the almighty pursuit of life, how easy it is to forget the blessings in each moment.


the walking man said...

It is an interesting question...the answer from this corner of your realm is sadly, nothing.

Charles Gramlich said...

A very interesting idea. I can see something like this making a very popular nonfiction book.

And an excellent question to end with. You've got me thinking.

Pam said...

Wow. This one really made me think. After feeling uncomfortable with the book of lasts (too sad), I thought about my book of firsts, and found I didn't have much in there. I think my book is somewhere in the middle, simply titled The Things I Remember. In it are good memories, sad memories, everyday memories, but each one worth a page in the book.

Vesper said...

L.A., I am one who yearns for the next moment to never come... for this moment to stay forever... I think of this whenever, and that's happening much too often, I hear people saying that they are looking forward to the next weekend, to the next holiday, to summer... Summer's very nice but I don't wait for it too eagerly: in six months when it comes we'll be six months older, and six months, especially in the life of a young child and that of an elderly parent, means very, very much... Does this make sense to you?
I couldn't think of a Book of Lasts because I would be overwhelmed with sorrow.
What did I do today? I read to my daughters at bedtime from their favourite books; I gave to a friend my comments to the story he's writing.

Todd Wheeler said...

Hmmm. Too many variables. Why is it the last? Last cup of coffee because of an ulcer or because I'm dying? Or a coffee bean parasite.

When I've left jobs I've been aware and present in the last moments. This is the last time I'll do this task, walk by that building, talk with this co-worker.

I think my feelings were: this moment is ending, change is coming, and it's going to be okay.

L.A. Mitchell said...

walking, too. Tomorrow presents another chance :)

Charles...I can picture it as a non-fiction book, too, though I'm hardly philosophical enough to write one.

Pam...thinking about a Book of Lasts is a bit sad. I feel a book first coming on soon for you :) After all, we *are* goal sisters, right?

Vesper...what a beautiful response. Thanks for sharing those moments with us :)

Todd...what a positive spin on it. Very optimistic to think of lasts bringing newness.

Rick said...

I don't know about what you told Charles, L.A. I think you're plenty philosophical enough!

laughingwolf said...

lam, i'm right there with mark :(

Barbara Martin said...

After considering your question, I do not have any day of lasts. I am working on middle things. Although I think to have a true day of lasts, a person must be able to walk away from that particular item.