We interrupt this programming to bring you a photo taken today. It’s of me and my grand-niece, whose initials are EJG. The J is for Jenifer, for she is my sister’s second grandchild and her first granddaughter. Jeni died more than a year and a half ago, so she didn’t get to see this child, who was born only weeks ago to her oldest child (my oldest niece), or her first grandson, who is just shy of a year old now and is the son of Jeni’s second daughter. We all went to Jeni’s grave today to look at the new stone marker that we finally had installed in place of the temporary one, and we sang her happy birthday since she would have turned 54 yesterday. Then we all reconvened at Grandma’s (my own mom’s) for soup and coffee and cake.
We wish Jeni could have lived to see her grandkids, of course. But with all these babies happening, the sadness of everything is slowly starting to drift down and settle in the bass clef for me. I don’t expect it to go away, just join and reshape some of the foundational themes in the music. Babies are insistently forward-looking. Good things, their furrowed brows and twitching hands seem to say, are all ahead of us. When someday I tell this child a story about her grandmother and middle-namesake Jeni, and a picture of my sister takes shape in her mind and takes root in her heart, it will all have come back aright.