One of my favorite, if kitschy, movies, is “Ladyhawke” (1985). Aside from drooling over Rutger Hauer (or Michelle Pfeiffer, for those of you who prefer her), Philippe the Mouse has several memorable lines. One of them, towards the end of the movie has rung true for me this past week after a too-short visit with my parents and two sisters (and I hope the purists will be kind, if I get a word or two amiss): “I’d like to think there is some higher purpose in all this, Lord. It certainly would reflect well on You.”
My family members have been ravaged by health issues, especially in the past three years. From multiple surgeries to blood vessels in delicate areas of the body giving way to vital organs plainly behaving badly, it’s a mercy we were all there to meet up and discuss my parents’ upcoming move. More issues and procedures are coming, since that is the way of Life, I suppose. We’re all physically getting into Senior Citizen territory. In some senses, that means decline and illness, etc. and all that we associate with old age.
Yet, there we were to enjoy each other’s company and make discoveries in boxes from the attic. We found photographs from times past that neither of my parents discussed much during my sister and my childhoods. We found bits ‘n bobs that they kept, for reasons even they don’t recall. We found a wad of Christmas tree lights (promptly trashed, as per my father’s directive), items no one know the reason for or use of, and books and books and books. A goodly number of the books belonged to my grandmother and great-grandmother. These included inscriptions and dates that likely shared endearments and events we no longer recognize. All memories, or not (there were more than one photograph of a person none of us could name), of someone gone before.
Both my sisters and I balked at taking home the mountain of literature, photographs and family memorabilia last weekend. The truth is, at least three out of our four households are in dire need of downsizing. Where is it all to go? Is there a point in claiming and preserving them? What was and is it all for, anyway?
I’ve been racking my brain all week to answer that last one. Sorry, folks, but as of today, I’ve got nothing. Well, nothing in the way of conclusions and “life lessons” to take from it. I have images and voices and tastes and smells from the weekend. And I have questions. Lots of questions. I don’t know that taking all those books from my grandmother and great-grandparents will answer them, but I do know that I will soon have to tactfully let my husband know we need another sizable bookshelf.
Will the higher purpose to our lives be in those volumes? I have no idea. Right now, I’d say it’s 50-50 that it might. Only might. It certainly would reflect well on Life and its Source, now, wouldn’t it?