Just a couple of times when I’ve lost people I love, I’ve had intense periods of remembering them, as if every time I turn around some physical reminder of them–like that time after Kate died when I could smell her patchouli in the entry way of my house–is right there.
This weekend it was Barbara’s turn. Below is a series of texts I sent my sister-in-law Rochelle on Friday.
I’m making a quilt for our friends’ wedding. So yesterday found me at the Cotton Shop, where I did the block of the month I gave to your mom (and that she submitted to the country fair. Twice!)
I found myself telling the clerk who cut fabric for me about how their scrappy Block of the Month became an award winning quilt and actually pulled up the photo from the display at her (Barbara’s) funeral to show her (the clerk) the quilt. Which I’m sure she didn’t need to know, but apparently I needed to tell her about.
Then last night we the family over and had Navajo tacos and frybread from a Navajo family trying to earn money to send their girls on tour with BYU’s Living Legends.
Both those were happy things, I guess. (But while the frybread was excellent, your mom’s chili is still the best thing to ever grace a Navajo Taco.)
Right now I’m at Fabric Mill in Orem, which is just next to the Chuckarama. And I’m remembering our dinner together the night before. That was a happy time, but being here now I can’t help but feel sad. Still grateful we had that time, but also sad it was the last time.
We miss her.
Yesterday I was waiting in line next to someone I thought was a stranger and I learned that a friend (not a close friend, but one who has become dear to me as her family as taken on a familiar fight–the fight against cancer–the fight no one ever seeks or asks for)’s sweet courageous and hopeful son is out of remission after just barely being able to return to school after yet another round of treatments. The cancer keeps returning–and this time so quickly–to his brain, thus rendering the hope of the bone marrow transplant for which they have a perfect match, ineffective. There is nothing more they can do. The sure faith which which this sweet child of God met this impossible news was humbling. Yet my heart breaks for him and his family.
I couldn’t hold back the tears and was crying silently, when the person next to me recognized me and said hello. When she could see I was grieving, she gave me a hug and expressed love and support that I would never have expected to find in such a random place. Except I’m sure it was not random.
Later this afternoon, the familiar wail of sirens drew close. I looked out my front window and saw a series of first responders head south on the main road perpendicular to mine. “Please keep going,” I silently pleaded, knowing, of course that pain and sorrow is pain and sorrow wherever it lands.
Soon I got a text from a neighbor one street over, informing me where the ambulance was parked. I texted Shane, who, as bishop, was receiving a flurry of texts and calls.
It was, of course, someone we know and love, someone beloved by so many here on the hill. “A spitfire of a lady,” as described by her son. A powerful matriarch who has been a force for good her entire life and who is so strong, it seemed impossible she would even age, let alone be taken from us.
In a freak accident, she fell down a short flight of stairs in the worst possible way and within a couple of hours we got word she has been taken home.
We are in disbelief. And our hearts are turned to this dear family–three of her sons and their families live in our immediate neighborhood–another and a granddaughter within just blocks beyond. We mourn their loss along with our own losses, and those of several friends who’ve lost brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers. Whose wounds are all fresh.
So grateful to come across this sweet reminder this morning in my reading.
Hope. Pray. Love.