It’s August now, almost four months since you left us. Typically, the heat has been stifling. Hoping the same isn’t true for you.
All summer, when memories of you brought tears, I welcomed them. They say the only way out is through, and I knew my kids were watching, so I showed them how to grieve. I cried openly; I named my feelings; we all reminisced. Surprising thing was, I found myself smiling a LOT. I was overwhelmed more by love than grief, simply grateful for the life we shared.
When I bit into the first homegrown tomato of the season, you were here with me. When the hummingbirds visited, they were your old friends. When I made the first bouquet of flowers from seeds I started last winter – the flowers I intended to be bringing to you in Personal Care – instead of feeling sad, I was grateful you’d been liberated. Relieved I didn’t have to walk down a long hallway and turn into a dark room where you “lived” with your infirmities and worries. Back then, a bouquet was a feeble gesture in the face of excruciating illness. Now the same bouquet transported me to your garden on Miller Avenue, or our mother/daughter trip to flowery Victoria, BC, or a thousand other places where you modeled treasuring the beauty in everything.
Truthfully, I was disconcerted by how often thoughts of you brought me comfort, not grief. I knew I’d get there eventually, but this seemed fast. I felt guilty over how seldom I cried and how often I smiled and laughed and just held your memory close. I worried I was disrespecting you by accepting your loss too quickly.
But maybe you made this easier for me by always talking openly about death. Maybe it was because we left nothing unsaid. Maybe it was the mercilessness of your illness. Maybe it was just how well you loved me.
The heat has been stifling, but this morning, I walked outside to a new world. The heat and humidity were gone; left was a perfect cool morning portending the new beginning of fall. I immediately thought of you and how you treasured moments like this one. How tears of awe would fill your eyes with overwhelming appreciation of the beauty of this world.
The leaves rustled on the trees. The honeybees danced in the crepe myrtle. I sat down on the stoop and cried.