Wow. There is something very like dying and yet being born about what happened to me today. Perhaps it's not much of a story, but it's a great moment nevertheless.
Today I finished reading The Lord of the Rings to my dad. We started reading it - well I don't even know when we started reading it for certain, but I can guess that we began mid year, perhaps June or July last year, nearly immediately after I finished reading it for the first time myself. And today, the 22nd of July, 2011, at fiveish in the afternoon, in a corrugated iron shed, sitting in wicker chairs some twenty-five years old, nestled in amongst the cushions I hand-sewed for Dad for Christmas, drinking chai tea with one sugar, we finished it. I made it about a page and a half to the very end, and then I could hardly breath, and I was crying softly and heartrendingly with my heart completely smashed. Gosh. It was so hard!
Dad said, "keep reading! Keep reading! We'll cry and see them off together!" And that it just what we did. I tried to get my breath back as much as I could before I soldiered on, and with sobs and trembles of grief, I read to the very last sentence, and then, with Sam's sweet last words, we sat and cried together and grieved those beautiful, wonderful people that we had met and loved and lost together for a year and a half.
I think I am either a lot younger or a lot older now. I can't really tell which it is just yet. But to cry with that pain that was truly authentic and totally perfect and read at the same time gave us both the doorway to revelation. What we had just done was so intensely personal. We were grieving.
There is nothing at all wrong with grief. And there is nothing at all wrong with crying. There is nothing at all wrong with crying while reading because what we've been through with dear Sam Gamgee and Frodo and Gandalf and Merry and Pippin has been something completely personal and incredible. We said goodbye for the last time to friends so key to our development and life of late that seeing them leave is like wrenching away a limb. We will grieve, all right, and sob when we need to, but what we have done together, I will never forget.