St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Manhattan, New York.
Something convinced me to step inside and look around while wandering the streets before meeting my family for dinner. Perhaps it was because I was alone, perhaps it’s because I’m “into that kind of stuff,” perhaps it was because I was thrilled to be in one of my favorite cities again, but there was a sense of peace the whole time I walked through this impressive place. Alongside the grandiose, there were dark corners, almost cavernous edges. But there was serenity underneath the childlike thrill of exploring with the idea that anything could be around the corner.
This cathedral was one of the many moments from that trip I cherish. My grandparents came with us, and it was the last trip we took together before my grandma’s passing on a Sunday five months later.
I suppose that changes the meaning of, what was at the time, a fun holiday getaway. The memories have not changed but as time passes, they become more precious and meaningful. Before the proverbial storm hit, each member of my family got to anchor to a perfectly packaged box of memories that couldn’t be tampered by illness.
Not long after, I was watching TCM and caught the middle of a film called Miracle in the Rain, just in time to see the characters were in Central Park.
Grieving people do funny things.
Eager to relive a happier time, identify the sights we had just seen together, and relentlessly scan the screen for signs from my grandma, I sunk into a throw blanket to tune in for the long haul.
And, suddenly, Jane Wyman’s heels echoed down to the altar of a hauntingly familiar place- and I realized it was St. Patrick’s. Her character is visited by an apparition of her deceased loved one, and I guess I felt very much the same that night.
Tonight is Debbie Reynold’s tribute on TCM, and they played a snippet of Miracle in the Rain during a commercial, so maybe that’s a sign that my grandma and Debbie Reynolds are now BFF’s. Who’s to say?
I’ve returned to that cathedral and that trip many times in my mind since. Seeing that film tonight, if only a flicker, and being removed from the sadness that used to feel so immediate, it was the perfect “hello.”
Family photo from the NYC trip, 2015.