(From a writing exercise* recorded in June of 2012)
I am thinking of Zelda's life as a young girl, so loved and cherished and protected by her mother. So aware at an early age of the heaviness of tragedy, through the loss of her baby sister. So affected for all time by an intuitive sense that bad things hung overhead, waiting to plop onto our paths. A sense that life was meant to be a struggle, and that we were meant to build up one another in our pilgrimage through it.
I think, too, of the joy that bubbled over in her relationship with her mother; of their playful times together and the endearing family nicknames they bestowed. Chickabitty Shortshanks. That was young Zelda's, known then by her birth name, Mary Audrey.
College Antics: Zelda at U of W Madison
I contemplate the enchanting way her mother's legacy of common sense and whimsy combined to produce a delightful personality in grown up Mary, a.k.a. Zelda: warm and uplifting and self-effacing.
I think of the great delight Zelda took in having four daughters—the large family she had yearned for as a child. About her loyalty to long-term friends, many of whom she kept contact with throughout her eight-plus decades of life.
And I am aware of a subtle ache cramping my heart as I mull over these images. Aware of how reconstructing a mental picture of now-absent personalities—whose flesh and bones were once animated and moved upon the earth and through our lives for such a short blink of time in the vast yawn of eternity—brings both comfort and wistfulness.
And a sweet smile of remembrance.
*Writing exercise suggested in Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg