Events, both big and small, will make changes to our lives and to us. Sometimes we don’t notice the changes, just absorbing them into our norm. Sometimes they make us pause a moment, adjust and then continue on, forgetting the event and its effects like a dream. Sometimes the changes will shift our reality. We have to make major adjustments to our view of life and our place in the world. An event will shake up our norm, and suddenly everything feels off. It’s that feeling when you have a weekday off so now it feels like a Saturday, only that is temporary. The off feeling from a life changing event is more permanent. Soon we will go back to feeling normal, but it will be a new normal. September 11, 2001 was one of these kinds of events that I think most of us share. The shock has worn off, but our world is different. Normal is less safe than it once was.

Last night my aunt died. My world is different. Everything is off.

Her name was Margaret, but we called her Binki. Bink is Gaelic for baby. She started as The Bink, and at some point became Binki. We do that a lot in my family. She was an eccentric person who collected strays of just about every life form including people. She hated loud noise and like to yell about children being too loud. See? But she laughed a lot and loved good conversation and knew how to debate instead of argue. (though she could do that too.) She was a hoarder and a dreamer and the most amazing knitter and crocheter I ever saw flash the needles. When I showed an interest, and she couldn’t teach me because I was left-handed, she searched until she found a book that would. Kids weren’t her thing, but family was, so we were her little chickens.

She neglected her health for most of her life, and it caught up with her about ten years ago. By the time she started getting the treatments she needed, there was major permanent damage. We watched her deteriorate over the last decade physically and somewhat mentally. In truth, she became a hard person to be around some times. But you stick because it’s family, and her true warm self would come out. For instance, she adored my kids. She saw them for the amazing blessings they are. They visited with her a little yesterday. It makes me happy to know that she had that last time with them. I wish I had been there too.

So here I sit, Saturday librarian, in the middle of the routine that is no longer routine. The day is off. Life is off because there is a hole where once there was an aunt. Soon I will adjust and the hole will be part of the norm, but not today.



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