Sissy and I, we talk about it.
All she did was reach to put a dish back on the nightstand.
And BOOM! She hit the floor.
And the ambulance came.
And she never saw her house again.
We talk about the lasts.
The last time she walked in that door.
The last time she walked out.
The last email she wrote.
The last visit with that grandchild.
The last sleep in her own bed.
The last check she wrote.
Her last Christmas on earth.
She had no way of knowing.
There’s a sale at the Chocolat Haus, and the line winds three deep, and I inherit the “end of the line” sign and try not to shop while I hold that spot.
But she doesn’t find the chocolate-covered chips, and she texts me, and I pass the sign on, and we leave.
There’s a cookie walk at Isabella’s to benefit a local animal shelter.
So we go there, and I don’t need cookies, but I fill a box and pay twenty dollars.
And she does, too.
I buy this egg timer thingy that you drop in the water. It changes color to tell you when your egg is soft or medium or hard boiled.
And I buy an itty bitty cutting board.
And drool over new white dishtowels and butter keepers and teapots and floppy spatulas and colorful bowls.
We go back outside in the cold and head toward the car but get sidetracked into G Willikers.
I should not be here, but this is grief therapy.
Then we’re browsing antiques, and I pick up a glass pitcher and carry it a few feet, but put it back on the shelf
We find a booth at the Sugar Bowl. I used to come here for onion rings and Cokes a hundred years ago.
But this morning we ask about the Greek rice pudding, and the waitress brings us cinnamon-dusted samples, and it’s so, so good.
We order breakfast.
And talk some more about the last couple of months and the fatigue and of one who thought we should be better organized, and Sissy said she almost lost it then.
I tell her how I feel pulled in so many directions and how I’m not feeling very Christmasy and how it wouldn’t take too much for me to break into a million pieces.
I see the tears begin to pool in her eyes and feel them well up in mine, and I laugh. We don’t have time to cry yet.
The coffee cramps my stomach, and I can’t finish my sourdough toast.
We pay the bill and walk out the back way, down the long hallway where the walls are lined with framed menus of the past and pictures of long ago.
I think about how, lens captured, time stopped for an instant.
And I realize that my time could stop in a moment.
And it’s possible that I could never see my house again.
Or my husband.
Or my children.
And I think how important it is to capture the gift in every moment while the time is now.
Because I have no way of knowing.
Oh, how sweet the light of day, And how wonderful to live in the sunshine! Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted. Take delight in each light-filled hour, Remembering that there will also be many dark days And that most of what comes your way is smoke. ~Ecclesiastes 11:7-8 (Message)