The prompts this time were generated from a list exercise. (For a detailed description of list exercises, click here).
The titles of these two lists were, “It’s too late,” and “It’s never too late.”
They produced some surprising results.
It’s too late to spend time with your dead parents
It’s never too late to talk to the dead
It’s never too late to learn that lesson (again)
Try the list exercise, and see what you come up with. What I wrote is below.
It’s never too late to spend time with your dead parents. It’s true. Just last week I had a conversation with Pop—dead three years now—about carrots. I was perusing a bright orange stack of loose ones at Whole Foods when I heard him say what he always said about carrots.
“Get the nice thin ones; they’re tender.”
“I know Pop,” I answered back silently. “but I want to quarter them for crudité, so I’m getting the big fatties.”
Mom doesn’t show up much these days, except as a guest star in my dreams. Gone are the days when she haunted me, a gaunt figure in soiled bed clothes, or worse, naked. Now she lies on the bedspread with me, her pretty salt and pepper shag propped up on her hand, bent elbow, and laughs with me, tells me she likes my writing.
Even Dean, my dearest, departed friend comes around when I really need him, a gaily deceased Dr. Bombay.
“Please shine some light on this,” I begged him recently, after surviving yet another disappointing first date.
“Go buy yourself a beer,” I heard him say. And though my recent battle of the bulge forbids it, I took myself to Daddy’s Saloon and ordered an Amstel Light. Ten minutes later a handsome Argentinian kept telling me how beautiful I am, over and over and over.
Okay, Dean. I got the message. Thank you.
All these conversations with the dead have led me to write about baking with them and stirring their risotto in a memoir cookbook that has ironically led me to write about loved ones who are still very much alive.
These lessons I keep learning about love; I feel lucky to still be learning them.
Remember this moment, I tell myself, as my best friend exits from the plane, bleary-eyed from the twelve-hour flight.
So many people to help you to see yourself; so many warm bodies still here, right now.