I’m talking about writing and about life. My last revision before my copy edit is really digging deeper about my story and my characters. It’s difficult and sometimes painful…and I’m about to put Natalya through something even more traumatic but…crossing my fingers that come June the people reading my story will “feel” with her.
Digging deeper is also about knowing people. About seeing beyond the surface and about connections. On Wednesday my great-aunt passed away, and with her it almost is like the end of an era. See, my great-aunt lived a long life. For the past 4 years though, she couldn’t speak due to a stroke, but she still managed to somehow communicate and stayed herself: she didn’t like being bothered, she was elegant and wanted to be elegant, she smiled when seeing my father or my husband, and hearing stories.
The relationship we had with her wasn’t always the deepest and it could be complicated at times, but I always found her interesting. And then, almost a decade ago, she helped me. I was not feeling well, heart palpitations and a bit faint, and she kept her cool, she stayed with me (my sister was also with us and calming me) and she made sure I stayed calm. When the doctor came, they mentioned right away that it was probably a panic attack due to too much caffeine (and at that time too many cigarettes), the heat and stress.
Through this, I have the feeling that I got a bit closer to her and then, I dug deeper. Yes, she could be a snob, yes she also could say hurtful things without sometimes realizing it, but she was so much more than this. She always baked what we liked when weI came over, she did little things like this with a smile, she invited us and talked about so many interesting things, she herself always tried to learn, she was relentless and funny, and she was her. She was a character.
And when visiting her we also always had the link with the past in a way. With our past.
None of that is gone with her, it’s part of us.
Walking back from a meeting in Paris yesterday, I thought about her…she lived there for a while, and she always talked fondly about the city. For a moment, I looked around me, and felt at peace.
This is still hard, but I know that I’m happy I dug deeper when I had the chance.