Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The spring peepers are back

The sound last night of the peepers calling from their muddy little homes lifted my spirits more than I thought possible. The cold and dreary days will pass. Spring will come.

It's been a long winter here - a 'dark night of the soul' to borrow from St. John of the Cross. Mother's final decline and passing on the morning after Christmas was both horrible and beautiful to witness. She was so physically ready to leave but still holding back mentally, I believe. But in her final days, though she didn't seem much different outwardly - not more breathless and no additional pain - she seemed to 'know' she didn't have much time. She had me buy Christmas cards to mail to people she hadn't spoken to in a while and who she knew needed to hear from her. She called Chris and Eric on Christmas afternoon when she would traditionally not call but wait to hear from her grandchildren and spoke with them at length. By the time Jen, Tim and Heather, Jeff, Thea and Sabina arrived on Christmas evening she had seen or spoken with each of her twelve grandchildren in the previous weeks. She had completed specific tasks she felt were important like shredding old paperwork and calling a cousin she hadn't spoken with in years, checking on a frail family member she was worried about.

She went to sleep that night after a joyous evening with some of her grandchildren and her namesake great-granddaughter and did not awaken the next morning. Our world is so much smaller without her in it but we all know she left without fuss or noise just as she wished. And, she left in privacy but yet surrounded by people who loved her deeply. She did indeed do it her way. The day after her death a deluge of rain fell flooding streets, road and creeks. Then (this was December 27 in mid-Missouri) a huge double rainbow appeared in view of our home. A sign? It sounds silly but it was very comforting nonetheless.

So we go on with life, working toward the 'new normal' without her here. This past weekend my sister, Anne, and my daughter, Jen, arrived to help tackle the sorting and disbursing of her personal 'effects'. It was both painful and joyous requiring frequent breaks to cry or gather strength or share memories. It also required wine and margaritas.

Spring will come but not soon enough for me. I need blue skies not gray and sun, lots of sun.

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