March 12, 2015

Dear Ann,

Today would have been your seventy-seventh birthday, but you know this. I’m just writing to say thank you. Thank you for encouraging me to write, to consider things deeply. Thank you for writing me letters and sending me money. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for taking so many pictures and keeping them in order.

I can go on like this for awhile, but I won’t, not today.

Thank you for surviving Katrina and writing your story. Thank you for giving it to me with instructions so we won’t forget.  It has been a curse of sorts, an obsession that hasn’t subsided since your departure.  I find that I’m uneasy and irritable when life’s tasks, however pleasurable or empty, interrupt my labor of words. It’s been that way since you left.

Thank you for inspiring me to fulfill something that I can’t figure. It feels like a never-ending search for readers that finds you in the end, a place where I offer a confession that manages to reverberate to others. It’s unafraid and makes its own way like the truth, plain and unadorned, yearning to be told, a blessing in sheep’s clothing, a devil of a thing that moves me like a brass band. It makes me want to blow grandma, to say something special, something you would like.

Thank you for guiding my hand as I wrote your obituary. Thank you for living a life that filled the page.

The truth is I miss you, but you know this. I will always. I can go on like this for awhile, but I won’t, not until next year and the year after and on, until someone is inspired to chart the day of my birth in letters after I’m gone.

Love,

Irvin

To read Ann’s obituary click here.

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