A Little Bit of Wonder is where I journal about the somewhat roundabout way that I have been working to establish a career and a strong sense of self--I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about "direction" and "identity." I have a Master's Degree in Literature, but I'm no longer working as an English Professor; I'm starting the next step in my life as I work to establish a career as a writer in the non-profit sector.

At my companion blog, Little Wonder's Recommended Reading, you will find reviews for both books and other blogs that I enjoy. The two blogs are inter-linked, so you can access my reviews and reading challenges from the sidebar on the left.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Get Up and Do a Little Dance

My grandfather died on May 11, 2010 – eleven months ago yesterday – surrounded by most of his immediate family. My husband and I were not there, though, because at the time, we lived five hundred and twenty miles away in Washington D.C. My brother tells me that after he had passed away and the minister had gone, my family was sitting quietly in the hospital room, not quite ready to leave my grandpa’s side. Suddenly, my grandma perked her head up a bit and looked around the room. From the confines of her wheelchair, she declared, “I ought to get up right now and do a little dance.”

Everyone looked at my grandma in shock and amazement. She loved her husband a great deal; they had been married for over sixty-five years and had not been parted literally since World War II. Everyone expected her to be mired deep within her grief – but that came later.

She looked at all of them and explained her statement: “Just to keep things interesting.”

That was my grandmother’s quirky sense of humor, though – and her desire to entertain others. She and my grandpa shared a similar desire to make people laugh – grandma would tell stories and say unexpected things, while grandpa wore funny hats and told corny jokes. I’m sure that I inherited my own desire to be a storyteller and my no small ability to entertain a room full of party-goers from my grandparents, who always bantered with everyone, from waiters and waitresses to their buxom nurses and handsome young doctors.

I was crying while driving home from work yesterday, thinking of how it had been eleven months since grandpa died and even longer since I had seen him in March of 2010, when I remembered this story about my grandma. And suddenly I knew that she and grandpa would want me to “get up and do a little dance” for them.

I just don’t really know what that means.

I do know, though, that despite my grief – which sometimes makes me want to stay curled up in bed – and despite all my insecurities about my new job and my questions about the future, I sometimes get out of bed and keep going simply because I know that they would want me to live my life. The desire to make them happy is so deeply engrained within me that no matter what else I am feeling, I still want achieve certain things that would have made them proud of me. I get up and keep going, but that isn’t exactly the same as “doing a little dance.”

So now, I am trying to figure out exactly how to start dancing again.

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