I lost someone dear to me recently and as usual, I took that shot of pain with a reflection chaser. There is so much to be pensive about when you realize you’ll never put your arms around your loved one again.

There is the wondering that comes from the unknown : “I wonder if she’s in heaven yet? Or if she has found her husband? Are they slow dancing? Holding hands? How long did they stay in an embrace when they finally reached one another? Can she see me? Does she know how much I will miss kissing her alabaster, tissue paper skin? Or reminiscing about when my grandma was alive?  Mostly I wonder if I really get to see her again someday.

Also, when you have to say goodbye mortality hits you like a gut punch. You realize that this is going to keep happening and that childhood memories will drift like angel feathers. If you are a worrier like me, you take a one-eyed peek into that bunny  hole and imagine a  terrifying time when you will have to live without the ones you breathe for. I long for the people that have deserted me and  wince over those who will. I’m on the side lines. I am cheering myself on  and chanting: ” live in the now, live in the present”…but sometimes my mind has its own set of quotes to live by.

Mortality is a creeper. It doesn’t live in my house but it lurks in my windows. It reminds me of how I’m aging. It cautions me to take careful care of myself. People like my dear aunt live to be the brilliant age of 93. And she was as sane as could be too; right up to the peaceful end. As a 25 year old know-it-all,  I clearly recall poo-pooing 93. I’m sure you recognize this familiar quote: “I never wanna be that old.” Extreme accentuation on “that.” Well  now I find myself in a pleading whisper with God: ” I’ll do anything to be 93.” I’ve promised to be more like Him, live simply , love graciously…and in moments of real urgency I’ve promised to even forego alcohol.  Of course, then I think of God and His wine and longevity of those who drink in moderation and I realize He would never want it that way.

But I beg for 93 or 103 or 153….because of my kids. When someone passes into another realm now,  I find myself turning towards my children…I vividly recall going to the funeral home after the death of my  92 year old grandmother. My mom and I rolled in, arms linked, eyes damp, and I remember thinking “how is she doing this?” ” how is my mom handling losing both of her parents?” The thought of it happening to me could bring me straight to my knees.  Then I looked again at our solidarity  and over at my brothers trying to keep it light with my dad.  It came to me: WE are getting her through this. We;her family. The ones that helped her replace those old faded childhood memories with bright colorful ones. The days of our childhood and things  good and bad that filled them up. We were someone she had to take care of, provide for, love and live for. I had revelation: this is why we have legacies. Not to keep the name alive or find ourselves on ancestry.com,   but to survive!….and that’s when I discovered that I needed a tribe.

These days I am tribe full ,house full  and heart full ,as sure as pain throbs in that very same beating heart. It still beats though. It must. Because faces need to be wiped, boos-boos need to be kissed, potty time needs to be celebrated, husband’s need hugs, dishes needs cleaning,  favorite channels must be found, and love handed out.  In return,  I get that love right back. I get it because I am a valued and needed member of my tribe. And, lucky  for me I may even be needed longer than most moms.

Here’s the significance though….  All of that unconditional, kindred love and codependency..It heals the hollows of my heart that comes  from inevitable loss. It saves me and I am blessed. Amen.

 

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Rest in peace Aunt Sanny.

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