Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Last night at 6:30 my son and I were on the road to Evergreen Hospice to visit my beloved mother-in-law Julie (mother of Mark, my first husband; grandmother to my sons). Halfway there we received the call that she had passed away.

We would have been there when she died had I not received a phone call from my bank which I've been awaiting and had to take. I rushed through it as quickly as possible -- the loan adviser must've thought me to be some kind of lunatic -- I just wanted to get out the door.

Sometimes we must accept that things happen in their own time. The end.

My sister Mary sent me this last night, from Ann Patchett's new novel State of Wonder:

"There was no one clear point of loss. It happened over and over again in a thousand small ways and the only truth there was to learn was that there was no getting used to it."

I recall a summer evening a few years ago on my back porch with Julie and my boys and my friends Tom and Carol. We were speaking of Mark's death, and Julie (his mother, and who many years ago had also lost a daughter) said, "You don't get over it. You get used to it."

Both Ann Patchett and Julie are right. You get used to it and you don't get used to it. Death of someone you dearly love becomes a part of your every day, enters your body and lives there for a time, then eases itself away, ever so slowly, until a minute becomes bearable again, and then an hour, a day, a week....

I stood outside in Don and Julie's yard last night in the setting sun, on the phone to Tom. I was facing northwest, and the light was coming through the trees in lateral rays. Some local tree has been releasing a cloud of fluffy seed pods, and there were thousands of them illuminated in the golden light.

We are part of something much larger than our individual losses, our sorrows.

I don't know how to end this post


  1. Oh, T.--I'm so sorry for yet another loss. My heart is with you. And thank you for the Ann Patchett quote and the thoughts from Julie--both so true.

    I believe you were with her even so.

  2. A very sad tale, especially missing her by so little time. Bankers have a lot to answer for!

  3. I am so sorry. So much loss. So much grief. When does it end? Perhaps that's the best way to "end" the post -- the way you have --

    Blessings, strength and courage to you. Onward.

  4. So sorry for your loss. I read somewhere that for every thing that is taken away from you something is given back. I hope this is true for you.

  5. The only way I found to deal with my mother's, sister's and nephew's deaths in recent years, is to think of them not lost, but existing in the Universe in an altered state...not gone...still being part of everything.
    Someone told me once that if you find a penny, someone in heaven is thinking of you. It's amazing how many pennies you find. Memories can be wonderful things.

  6. I'm so sorry, most of all, that you just missed her.

    Those words are grievously inadequate to express what that is.

    Best love, - Ca.