An iceberg’s lifespan is a few thousand years. It begins as snow falling on a glacier and ends as a chunk of ice melting into the sea.
Memories are like icebergs, separating themselves as time passes from their glacial past. Some are visible and large enough to walk around on. Others are harder to see as they float their way to warmer waters to die a not unpleasant death, but a death all the same.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been swimming the ocean that is my mind in search of icebergs, always pleasantly surprised when I reach one. I swim up to it and around it, and then under it. It’s only been a few days since finishing the memoir and I haven’t yet caught my breath.
This Tuesday was my Nanny’s last Tuesday. In hospice care, she passed away while asleep. My Nanny never liked the term “grandma”; in part because of our British ancestry but mostly because it sounded old. “Old” was not a word to describe her: glamorous, generous, compassionate, but never old.
Writing about one’s past reveals all kinds of hidden memories that otherwise might have been lost for good, buried at sea. It seems a shame to go through life and never explore the depth of one’s own mind. My memories of my Nanny are mostly frozen in the icebergs of my childhood.
I’ll be heading to California in a few days to help my mother go through my Nanny’s things–put some order into a sea of chaos. While I’m there I hope to upend a few icebergs, and perhaps catch a glimpse of a few others before they’ve melted away for good.
In the words of Socrates, ‘an unexamined life is not worth living.’