After reading a book late at night, I prepared to turn out the lights, kiss my wife on her forehead and go to bed, hopefully getting the rest that had eluded me during the last couple of days. I turned over to put the book on my nightstand and settle down for the night. All I need is my bookmark. Where in the heck is my bookmark?
This is not just any other mass produced bookmark that you can pick up at Barnes & Noble or any coffeehouse across the globe. This is my only bookmark. It’s an exclusive, one-of-a-kind item, handcrafted by the hands of Shardine Jane Whitfield, my grandmother. For as long as I can remember, she made these bookmarks using old greeting cards that she found around her house, sending them out to family members attached to birthday or Christmas gifts. Over the years, I am sure that I had received over 30 of these bookmarks, complete with a bible verse and something inspirational. The last one I got read:
May 9, 2009- God is always with you. Love you much, Aaron Boy. From “Gran”.
In years past, I would throw these bookmarks away because I wasn’t much of a reader and I didn’t think that needed a bookmark, let alone 30 of them. Plus, all I read were hip-hop magazines. Let’s face it, bookmarks aren’t really hip-hop.
Where’s my bookmark?
I can't find it and I need it. I need to press pause and take in the moments that I seem to miss as I rush throughout the day. I need life to stop the pages from turning. I need a break to remember, to feel, and to just be.
I need a bookmark.
Where's my bookmark?
My Grandmother and chief bookmark maker, Shardine Jane Whitfield, better known to her grandchildren as “Gran”, passed away a couple weeks before her birthday at the age of 71. Prior to her passing, she had fought pancreatic cancer. Doctors gave her six months to live. She decided that she was going to live a year and half. She fought pancreatic cancer and won, possessing enough will and drive to continue to teach my youngest niece her lessons so that she would ready to go to kindergarten. Even through all the medications, drastic weight loss, and her decreasing independency, she still made it to church every Sunday, sitting in the same seat that she had for years. From that seat, she had raised children, gotten married, endured divorce, praised God, and yes, fought cancer. She fought with all of her might and God’s will, until she decided it was time go home---to heaven. She didn’t throw in the towel on her life. She merely placed her will in the hands of God and together they went, peacefully, surrounded by family and friends. She and God seemingly turned the last page of her life in unison, harmoniously dancing to the heavens together as she exhaled on Earth one final time.
No more Gran.
No more bookmarks.
The whole point of bookmarks is to save the page you were on. They are great reminders, as we use them as tools that pause great moments in great books. With a bookmark, you can always come back to a spot that is worth remembering. My grandmother and chief bookmark maker, Shardine Jane Whitfield, is a spot in the book of my life that is worth saving. Although she passed, I still carry memories of her, hearing her voice, seeing her smile, and feeling her presence. But even those fade, as the hands of time are used as instruments to steal the moments that we hold close. She’s gone, replaced by a grave marker, some flowers, and a legacy that I as her grandchild honor with each passing day.
Honestly speaking, some days all you have are bookmarks, instruments used to pause life moments that we shouldn’t rush past. Memories fade out, which is why you need something to mark the pages, save the spot of the best book that you have ever read---or person that you have ever known.
By the way, after much digging, I found my bookmark. I keep it on the nightstand at the right of my bed in my favorite book.
Where’s your bookmark?
Where is that one item in life that makes you pause, reflect, smell the roses, or shed tears? When was the last time that you stopped and just existed in the present, counting blessings, appreciating wounds, and being thankful for being able to exist for just one more moment? Recently, I found my bookmark, and it once again made me slow down, stop, reflect, and remember. My memory traveled back to conversation that my Grandmother and I had as she ended each sentence with a warm smile. Though she isn’t living, her legacy lives on through her family, friends, and hundreds of bookmarks that she had given to people over the years who like me, needed something that will force a break in action and allow you to venture to a place of happiness or a quintessential place of calm.
I encourage you to find your bookmark in life and keep it nearby for those moments in which you don’t want to turn the page just yet. Take time to relish in the story that you have lived thus far, remembering to read every word that has made you smile. The game of life always requires a breather. Find your bookmark, use it wisely, and never lose it no matter how quickly the pages wish to turn.
Every great book needs a bookmark. So do you.