Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Jilting of Granny Weatherall

It was strange opening that box and finding my old report cards and a bunch of my highschool English papers from Junior year. One essay in particular caught the Warlock's eye. He thought it very strange that I would write an essay about death a decade and a half before losing my daughter.

At age 16 I don't think I understood half of what I read. The Jilting of Granny Weatherall is about loss. The losses of life of health of independence of a groom, a husband, a baby... I couldn't see at 16 how brilliant Katherine Ann Porter was when she wrote this story. She unifies all loss showing what it does to us and how we must push through it, with faith.

For example, tonight Pippi "lost" her backpack. She wandered around the house in her pajamas, fatigued, but emotional, and searching. "Mom there's important stuff in there. Stuff about my field trip. " And then Pippi proceeded to tell me about it, all the things she will need Friday. Part of her expectation was her showing me this paperwork so I could help her get ready for this exciting field trip.

This is an example of something small that was lost for a moment. The loss caused much frustration and confusion. Granny Weatherall remembers telling her children, "I want you to pick all the fruit this year and see nothing is wasted. There’s always someone who can use it. Don’t let good things rot for want of using. You waste life when you waste good food. Don’t let things get lost. It’s bitter to lose things..."

No matter what the loss is, it is bitter. I know loss. I feel the panic of losing my keys almost everyday. I've lost my wallet in a NYC gypsy cab. I've lost my daughter for a short time to death. And I see the losses of others. And I ache for them.

As a sixteen year-old I really thought that nothing really terrible would ever happen to me. It couldn't because...stuff like that didn't happen to me. And I didn't worry. I never could have anticipated the sorrow that I would feel in my adult life. But I like Katherine Anne Porter's abruptness, "Wounded vanity, Ellen, said a sharp voice in the top of her mind. Don’t let your wounded vanity get the upper hand of you. Plenty of girls get jilted. You were jilted, weren’t you? Then stand up to it. " Though I feel sorrow deeply for myself, and for others, it is my hope that I will never feel lost in sorrow, lost in fear. Just like Granny after her first loss, I have a lot of work to do and life to live. I don't want to waste it.


Witty said...

Loss is challenging, isn't it? I sometimes wonder at the life I would have had, if I hadn't lost some of the things I expected to have in life. I think I'm making the most of the gains these losses have brought into my least I hope I am. You sure are!

Lisa said...

I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

The Flora MOM said...

I had a conversation with my sister today about "loss", it explains so much of the emotional turmoil most of us feel in adulthood. No matter who or where you are, you will feel it eventually and it is never easy! How we deal with it really, ultimately defines us, more than we realize. Thanks for the deep thoughts - you are awesome at this blogging thing :)

Prairie Smoke said...

This made me want to read that book or story. We have to live each day as if everything is going to be O.K. If we were constantly dwelling on awful things and convinced they were all going to happen to us, I don't know how we could keep on keeping on.

Natalie said...

I also enjoyed reading this. You're a beautiful writer.