Thinking these days about family, memory, legacy.

Sitting cross-legged on the floor listening intently as my in-laws relive the past--faded photographs, bad haircuts, funny faces, old loves all mix together with squeals of delight and deep, heartfelt breaths of, "Oh, look. Daddy looks so happy here. Remember?" And though I am an outsider, feeling somehow connected to it all.

And I get that lump in my throat remembering when I did the same just weeks ago, seeing, for the first time, Grandma before she was Grandma, Grandpa as a farmer (?!)...and understanding both more and less at the same time. Feeling both oh! Oh now, I see! as these familiar faces flesh out before me into living, breathing people who I never fully knew yet knew so well. Tinged with longing and love and if only I was listening just a bit closer.

And pulling memories in with an aching to remember, a fear of letting that fire burn out, a knowledge that this is grief and this is life and this is really happening (?!) and wondering how an emotion so normal, so seemingly understood on the surface can feel so foreign in the midst of it all.

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