The morning, still dark, is enchanting. It is 6:00 AM. I walked both my girls to their cars in the velvety mild of this wondrously warm January day. There is something in the air, great happenings soon, both heart breaking and beautiful. I can feel it on my skin, I can hear a sweet mummer, close by.
My muscles are alive with tender care given. Yesterday I watched my Gumbygirl, grandbaby for about thirteen hours. It is blessed time spent. It is also exhausting, as I swoop her in the air, wrestle when it comes time to change, crawl into play huts, push a toddler car and generally police everything that is a hazard to a 16 month old. And everything is a hazard. A fork is a deadly weapon. I hear the Jaws theme when I spy a Chapstick cap on the floor, diving for the choking hazard that she is drawn to like moth to flame. She is so quick. Leaving for a walk to soak up some of that glorious sun yesterday, we were met with a ten inch patch of snow, hanging on right outside the apartment door. "Ooooh!", the Gumbygirl said, eyeing the slush up like Hawaiian Ice. " Snow!" I said, slipping my key into my pocket. In a micro second, with one turbo swoop, she had a mouthful of the bedraggled stuff. "Mmmmmm!"she said, brown eyes shining, shredded mulch hanging out her mouth, dirt smeared up her cheek, into her eyebrow.
When she leaves I am still in mode, still scanning, still on alert for a good two hours. These old bones are tired. But for some reason I just had to make my dad his favorite cornbread and rice pudding before I sat down. I knew I would be seeing him today; He is 88 and it's a small thing I can do for him. Moving out of my house had been so draining; and with this apartment kitchen, being all but nonexistent, I had sorely neglected him these past few months. As the cornbread baked and as I stirred the rice pudding, I called my mom to check in, like I do every night. Usually when I ask how they are, I hear, "Great, we're both fine." But last night's, response was, "Not so good."
It seems as though my dad's bones have worn away. Either disintegrating or cracking, or maybe worse, and he has extreme hip pain, has been in extreme pain, which he did not want to worry anyone with. I swear this big Marine of a man, is, among other reasons, staying alive so he can be certain that I am back on my feet. But this big Marine of a man is literally falling apart and even he cannot stop it. It is happening, I know it is happening and although I looked the other way in the demise of my marriage, I will not turn away this time. I will find a way to see the sacred in this impending loss. I will find a way to be of use to my dad, the only man, that may have ever loved me.
Incubating also, is the marriage of my daughter. The middle one: A chirpy bird of a girl. Happy, giving, a love- bug from day one. She is marrying a good man. If I personally had scoured the planet for her I could not have handpicked a more generous soul.
Beginnings and endings are vibrating all around us. Molecules of each swirling all about, colliding, embracing. My dad is to give my daughter away at her wedding in a few months. All of us pray that he will be able to do that, and if he can will himself to do it, he will and if it is God's will that it does not happen, we will find a way to accept that too.
If I perch and picture the rest of my life unfolding there is no doubt at all that it will continue to be punctuated with great loss, just like the rest of humanity's. Up until a few years ago, sorrow had not stopped that often at my door. I am so very aware that I will come to know sorrow intimately from here on in. I will have to befriend her to survive, inviting her to tea with my good friends Grace and Love. We will each drink from old china cups, each with a different pattern, hopefully mine will have sweet peas, or maybe forget -me- nots. All the cups will have a hairline crack or a smooth chip or two. We will sip our tea, looking over our steaming cups at each other- Sorrow, Grace, Love and me. We will see that we are each beautiful and here for one another.