I was showing photos of our family and friends to our daughter this evening. This has become a favorite part-time pasttime for us, which I find moving, difficult, and thrilling all at the same time. The pictures dislodge memories of younger days, when I looked wiser and more alive, and the baby pictures remind me of those squawking first few weeks that gave life to a new being. Some of the photographs depict people who are no longer alive, like my grandmother. I told my daughter, “this was my grandmother,” and as the words rolled out, I found myself drowning in the word “was,” a word not like any other, a word that shows the finiteness of our being in three long letters and one syllable. I also thought about how the word “was” somehow indicates objectness — a non-human quality, as if the coil sloughed off of us is an it and not part of us.