Friday, September 16, 2005

A toast

I don't want to dwell on this too much, since I know everyone's heard plenty about Katrina and the devastation in New Orleans and good lord, does Anderson Cooper ever take a break? He's standing in ankle-deep water and squinting into the camera every time I turn on CNN.

We got to talk to my father-in-law last night, and he and his wife have lost pretty much everything. They went back to their house last week to see if there was anything to be salvaged, but it's all gone. But at least they were able to get out before the storm hit, and they are physically (if not emotionally) okay. I know many families were not as lucky. At least they have insurance, unlike many. At least they'll be able to put their lives back together eventually.

How I cry when I see the news on TV! I imagine arriving where my house once stood and finding all my worldly possessions stripped away. At first that made me feel like the biggest hypocrite in the world, because I've always prided myself on being non-materialistic. But I realized eventually that it's not just about losing things. It's about losing things that hold memories, things that represent hard work, and love, and people you hold dear. I would mourn the loss of irreplaceable pictures. Of my dining room table, where family and friends have gathered so many times. The antique ring that my grandfather gave my grandmother decades ago. The journals I kept since elementary school. The spaces where I celebrated, and cried, and envisioned my future.

And what it really makes me realize is this: if I were to lose everything, I'd hope like hell I'd invested as much in myself as I had in my home, bank account, and job. Because when everything else is stripped away, what you're left with is you.

So here's to making memories and living life to the fullest. To being happy with the person you are, and being at peace with the way you've lived your life. To being kind. To loving. To taking chances, making changes, and collecting experiences that can't be washed away.

To life.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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7:22 AM  
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7:29 AM  
Anonymous jenny-bean said...

sorry to hear about your father's loss. it's hard to watch it on tv and not get emotional. best to your family... and welcome back!

8:28 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I'm so sorry about your father-in-law's loss. I've been fortunate that the people I know who were living in New Orleans (and other areas affected) got out, but some still don't know the status of their homes.

Even though my personal connection with Katrina is almost nonexistent, I can't watch the news or read about it without getting either angry or sad---or both---to the point of tears.

I have to say, though, that it does make me much more grateful for my new "lifestyle." I can pack everything I would really want to take with me---and some that I only sort of want---in the back of my car.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

I'm sorry they lost so much...but very glad that they're ok!

9:44 AM  
Blogger Frema said...

L'Chayim! At least, I think that's how it's spelled.

Despite the downfalls we experience in life, it's still a gift to be cherished. I think making out is a great way to pay homage. :)

12:49 AM  

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