Trespasser

Part of me wants to write a blog. Part of me thinks it would be more appropriate to write in a journal and close the pages afterward.

One thing to note: I had an excellent writing day on Saturday. For some reason, focus landed in a heap. Better than focus, it was creative energy, and all I had to do was follow the flow of images and ideas. It was a story that I had not planned to write, that came up the day previous; we’ll see whether or not it holds long-term, but it certainly climbed out of me whole, like it had been waiting to be written. I love when that happens.

In terms of the book’s structure, I am seeing it in a very complete way in my mind, seeing what remains to be written. Today is meant to be a writing day. But I have not entered into the manuscript yet, despite the empty house, and the empty cup of coffee. I feel tired, and contemplative. I am thinking about my grandma, whose body was buried yesterday, and I am thinking about what that means …

And this is where I should get out the journal and write privately. But something in me wants to tell how moved I was to stand beside her body, and to speak quietly to her. It was a moment that may not have happened, had Fooey, five years old, not been utterly fascinated by her great-grandma’s body: she asked me to hold her up. She had questions about every detail: Why was Grandma wearing her glasses when she couldn’t see anymore? Why were her hands folded? Why was she wearing a necklace (I hadn’t looked closely enough to see that she was). As we stood there together, I found myself becoming comfortable with the presence of a body emptied of its spirit self. In the past, in similar situations, I have felt–well, frightened–but instead, I felt … okay, somehow. It wasn’t my grandma lying there, it was her earthly body. It was what remained after a long life had ended. We could say goodbye to her.

At the burial site, the minister said that this was as far as we could walk with the body of (she said my grandma’s name, which I won’t). I found that profoundly moving. We could only come this far.

AppleApple said something that struck me afterwards. She said that she felt like she was trespassing, as she looked at her great-grandma’s body. That was the word she used: trespassing. It wasn’t how I felt, and I’m trying to understand what she meant: maybe that without the self to animate the body, the body is somehow unprotected. That there is a fundamental vulnerability. That she is gone, and just like it would feel like trespassing to walk through an empty house and take things that do not belong to us, everything we take from her is now one-sided, forever after, because she is no longer here to offer these things herself. Or maybe AppleApple simply sensed that we were trespassing on something too private, on the  body’s still and silent forever rest.

I don’t know.

Rest in peace, Grandma.

Writing Week
Almost Eight

3 Comments

  1. Beautiful post Carrie. I have tears.

    Reply
  2. I keep thinking about this post. I’ve read it a few times and want the right thing to write. I don’t have it and I don’t know if I will.

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    I’ve been thinking of AppleApple’s word ‘trespassing’. I can’t explain it, but it feels like the perfect word and that evokes both your explanations, but something else, too. A sense of sacredness? I don’t know. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Reply
  3. Thank you, Marita, for drawing more out of that word. Maybe there is a sense of trespassing when we are in a sacred place, or space, or witness to a sacred moment. Maybe that’s why people go to confession to cleanse themselves before entering into a sacred ritual.

    Do we belong here?

    If you think of more, please let me know. I found the word choice so evocative, and mysterious.

    Reply

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