Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)
While I can think of many moments, one that stands out was walking my mother-in-law down the aisle at my stepdaughter’s wedding. My mother-in-law is 100 years old. She suffers from moderate dementia. There are days when she is more alert and days when her innate social graces can mask just how confused she is. But walking down the aisle, she was fully present. She may not have known all the people who reached out to her and greeted her. She may not have been able to walk a straight line without a little assistance, but at that moment, she knew exactly where she was.
She was smiling, happy. I don’t think I heard the music or noticed the people seated on either side of us. I wasn’t aware of the photographer, although I knew he was there. I was just conscious of walking with her, of guiding her a bit, and of getting her seated in her chair for the ceremony.
It was a lovely, early summer evening. The sun was out after some earlier rain. It wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t cold. There was a slight breeze off the Charles River. Family and friends were all around. Women were wearing bright colored dresses and basic black. The men were in a mix of black tie and nice suits. We were the first to walk the aisle, so there was no one in front of us as we walked.
I watched her during the ceremony. She was leaning forward, her eyes fixed on her granddaughter. She had lived for this day and she loved it.
She has a picture on the wall of her room where she stands flanked by the bride and groom. She has one on her dresser standing with her family at the wedding. Some days she remembers being there. Some days she doesn’t and she thinks her granddaughter has a boyfriend, not a husband. But when you remind her of the wedding or draw her attention to the picture, she says, “Oh yes. It was a lovely party.”