Mom’s illness caused her fall and ultimately her death.
Her younger sister passed on before. I don’t know when. I don’t know why. Theirs was a shattered relationship.
Sometime after Aunt Lucy died, my cousin sought to reconnect with my parents.
That’s how it is sometimes, I think. When we lose, we ache to find.
When a stitch is torn from life’s fabric, we long to weave the raveled threads of the past.
To embrace what remains.
To cultivate the barren.
And yes, to build a bridge.
Because in the end, it’s all about family. We were never meant to do life alone.
I don’t know what urged V.J. to reach out to my folks, but they grew close.
She and her family drove across the bridge to visit Mom in the Cottage.
They came to see my dad the day Mom died–two days after Thanksgiving.
They attended her memorial service.
Not knowing that before the next Thanksgiving rolled around, V.J. would also break the bonds of earth.
A fall caused her illness and ultimately her death.
She did not realize she’d torn her spleen, and by the time she sought treatment, it was too late.
And again I was reminded of the brevity of life, of a cloud of unknowing, of moments whisked away in the wind.
So two days after Thanksgiving, we crossed the bridge.
The Mackinac Bridge lit up for Christmas
Our hearts throbbed to the beat of drums and songs with words we didn’t understand.
We paid honor to my cousin, only three months younger than I, as she lay love-embraced in a friend-woven shawl with an eagle’s feather clasped between her hands. We breathed deep of sage smoke fanned, and we scattered tobacco to the wind.
As I listened to the stories, I thought of the pictures. I wished I could remember. And I wished I’d known her better.
After the meal, I hugged her kind and gentle husband. “Don’t lose touch,” he whispered in my ear.
V.J. and me. I’m the poser.
V.J. and me. I’m the hugger.
Today these words from Henri Nouwen arrived in my box.
The wonderful knowledge, that nothing we live in our body is lived in vain, holds a call for us to live every moment as a seed of eternity.
And I vow again to take no moment for granted. To try to live each one as a seed of eternity.