Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Our family gathered on Martha’s Vineyard over the Christmas holidays to celebrate the season. This trip was different because my husband’s 94-year-old mother died ten days earlier; the last remaining parent/grandparent in our small nuclear family. It’s important to note that she died in her home looked after by a cadre of 24-hour caregivers with her oriental rugs still intact and one final jigger in the bottle of Gordon’s. We sensed that she was ready and it was her time to leave. Like the three elders before her, this passing was filled with a potent mixture of grief and relief that we celebrated and honored to the fullest extent of our overflowing hearts.

Digging through a house filled with memories, saying goodbye and carting old, familiar clothes to the thrift shop, pondering a long-lived life with all of its ebbs and flows. Feeling it all and holding onto the precious moments of togetherness that get blurred in the organizing and doing. Several precious objects caught my eye: cashmere sweaters, vintage pins, silk neck scarves, special pottery, a roll of green velvet ribbon, a box of British stamps, a set of colorful fruit-adorned dessert plates, a letter I wrote after my first son was born, a flannel shirt worn by my father-in-law. Ordinary objects made extraordinary through the passing of time.

With a fresh new year upon us, and a blank slate before us, my wish is that we take the time to slow down just a bit more to pay closer attention to the ordinary yet extraordinary things that are right in front of our eyes. Holding onto these precious moments and the love they express is a timeless gift.