Friday, April 3, 2009

Sephia Day

The day Grandma Banks died, people congregated in one space, brought dining chairs into the living room, sat on the floor, laid on each others' laps, laughed and quietly brushed at watery eyes for the first time in years. They let their hair down again. They loved and remembered. She had passed away and so we all came together, out of the woodwork, for her. The cousins I had grown up with, who I had not seen for over seven years were suddenly all together as familiar strangers and adults. I was ecstatic and solemn, feelings so far apart that they hardly made any sense at all.

I can't really describe what it was like, experiencing death among loved ones for the first time, finally grasping that my step-mother's family was mine too, had been all along, and being sad too. But that day I remember in sephia because it was like living in a memory. Because my emotions were polar opposites, black and white, like an old photograph. Then and now. Before and after. We were girls in white dresses and lace socks, we are grown women, independent, working, maybe in love, and confused because we are still young. And one day we'll be gone too. The sensation is too fresh to get now, but sephia describes it and makes a home of it for me.

In Loving Memory of Idella Cavit Banks (May 16, 1925 - March 19, 2009).

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