I woke up today with a shocking gratitude to have woken up again, to be given another day. I was in my kids’ bunk beds, a single bed and all three of us on the bottom bunk, my son’s head by my feet, my daughter’s by mine, all of us tangled and sleepy and warm and alive. So alive. What a gift it is to feel the sunshine rising into the windows. The smell of the first cup of coffee. The pop of a toaster and the scrape of the butter across the bed and the crunch of the first bite. We’re all alive.
We’ve been blessed with a genealogy of longevity. One that stretches to the ninth decade of life. To the wrinkled hands and face of decades of adventure and sunshine and relationships. Farming, mothering, marrying. Evolving. New generations. Not without scares and heartbreaks but not without the deep grief so many we’ve come to know wake up to every day.
Some days I feel woefully inadequate for the job of holding space inside our work to recognize the grief related to so many of the lockets ordered. The photographs come through, the stories alongside them. We read them. We stop what scrolling. We stop everything. We say their names, we wonder about their lives, about their deaths, about the people who love them who also woke up today. We mix a resin to protect their images and wonder about how it pours, how it bubbles, how it resists or welcomes the heat we use to smooth the surface. Is it a metaphor for their lives? What were they like? What books did they love? What breakfast routines did they have? We say their names again.
We keep them with us even as our day continues on. As the night comes, too, and we wake, once again, to the stark realization that this next day, once again, is a gift.