My grandmother “Mimi” started taking special notice of Anna Quindlen once I became a Quindlen in 2007 (my father-in law is Anna’s cousin).
My grandmother called wanting me to read the January 2013, Reader’s Digest “Optimism Issue,” and in particular to look at Anna Quindlen’s piece called “Our Great Gift” taken from “A Short Guide to a Happy Life.”
I think I am going to have to grab more Anna Quindlen books to read. The short passage from Readers Digest is really beautiful. Anna describes what emerged for her after her mother’s untimely passing from ovarian cancer. She explains that “the lights came on, for the darkest possible reason.”
I can relate to this. Profound appreciation for life emerging from the jolt and shock of facing death.
For me, after the shock of the cancer diagnosis settled in, it was like everything unnecessary just fell away. It was nice. I felt that same calm feeling I get walking on a quiet snowy day. I started to allow myself to feel whatever I feel without judgement. Some moments terrified, some moments depressed, some moments peaceful. I am learning that all these moments are OK, they are all just moments, the bad ones pass and there are plenty of sparking moments of wonder and beauty and laughter and friends and nature to appreciate. I am learning to cherish and cultivate these bright moments.
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of our hectic lives, but we have to snap out of it. Go to a yoga class, inspect an anthill, help someone in need, take a walk, doodle. Let go of things you can’t change or worry about things that haven’t happened, deal with things as they come and let that light flow in.
Anna says “I never think of my life, or my world, in any big cosmic way. I think of it in all its small component parts: the snowdrops; the daffodils; the feeling of one of my kids sitting close beside me on the couch…Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of grey cement.”
That is nice. Thanks Mimi.