Every ending is a beginning. It feels to me as though, if I keep a diary of any kind, or a record of my life, I can’t overlook today. Queen Elizabeth II has died. Her son, Charles, for better or worse, is King.
It’s a perfect day in the Berkshires. The birds are flitting from tree to tree, sometimes alighting on the feeder in my window, sometimes singing a little. The garden is flourishing. The Rutter Requiem plays in my headphones, a way to mark the day.
I think of everyone who has passed through my life, and of the places I’ve passed through to land here, an American woman in a turbulent time.
My life was laced with traces of Elizabeth’s influences. My Mother was named for her mother. My Grandmother was an avid Royal watcher. I was born a Citizen of the Commonwealth, not a rebellious yankee. I was raised with British manners, sang in the Anglican Church, I know the Anglican rites by heart and feel at home in England. I know well enough to take advantage of the absence of an accent to conceal my class in casual conversation, just to be contrary. And I am still enough a part of that class system to have been deeply offended by the actions of TFG 45, on his cringeworthy visit to Buckingham Palace. These are traits typical of women of my generation, whether they be Canadian or from anywhere else in the Commonwealth. We share a social bloodline.
So today, I say goodbye to that part of my life forever. I’ve lived in a world where Mandela was in prison, and then, miraculously, freed. I’ve lived in a world where Bowie could be spotted downtown in New York, walking from his home to his studio. I’ve lived in a world where the internet was just discovered, and I didn’t have to carry a cell phone. I’ve lived in a world where Elizabeth was the Queen and it felt as though she had been and would be Queen forever.
These changes don’t mean anything except that time continues to sweep by and carries us all along, whether we want to go or not.
So it’s a day to feel feelings, it’s a day to remember the past, to close the door on the 20th century and open the gates to the future.