Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Looking into the past

This weekend I began downloading some old analog camcorder tapes.

My mother-in-law Betty is nearing her Final Passage,
and I want to make a DVD for her,
to remind her of the good times,
when her husband and daughter were still with us,
happy and full of energy and wit.

Now they are both gone,
and Betty lingers in her nursing home,
unable to walk due to a hip injury,
awaiting her time.

Leukemia took Nancy in the spring of 2003,
and John passed in October 2006.

I first met Nancy's parents and friends in 1994
on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary in Kokomo, IN.
I carried my camcorder around all weekend
to record my first meeting with all these people
whom I knew would become part of my new family.

Later I recorded John's 80th birthday,
and in 1997 I interviewed him about his life.

It is remarkable to see these old images
and also to view myself at an earlier time,
before I had left behind a long career and a lifetime of friends
to start a new life in Tennessee.

I hear my voice and see my face in these old tapes
and wonder how I have changed.
I see the ponytail and the earring,
the slender and taut features
and compare them with the older man
who now stares back at me from the mirror.

I remember how I felt old then,
maybe a little too old (48) to be changing my life
in such fundamental ways.

But I plunged ahead anyway,
following a new life path
that has brought me to this day.