Monday, March 31, 2014

Peace in the Valley


Every day, the sun sets.

Right now, I can think of a dozen poems and a dozen poets right for the occasion. But I have no words of my own. It's one of those times when I'm glad for other writers in the world - people who've been there before me, to give voice to feelings I can't articulate. Their efforts are a soothing balm in difficult times, though they can't heal on their own.

I could go on. I could consider the cyclical nature of life, delve into memory, pound out words with a soft fury that I don't understand. But the most peaceful thing right now is in knowing that the sun will set today, just like it has for millennia past. Not everything has changed.

But enough has.

***

I wrote the above a week ago, the day my grandma passed away. In some ways, it's still unreal. In others, I'm both relieved for her and devastated for everyone who loved her. Since then, I've been to her visitation and funeral and seen first hand all the lives she influenced. I've learned that all you can say to a parent who loses a parent is I love you, over and over; sorry strikes the wrong chord, falls flat for daughter to say to mother, for so deep a hurt. I've considered both terrible futures and beautiful memories. I've learned that sixty six years of marriage is not enough.

Since then, I've bought a house with a garden and seen a chickadee in the backyard. I've started planning how many birdfeeders to get and where to put them, so that my yard will have the busy flutter of Grandma's. With an incredible amount of family help and love, the kitchen has been assembled, and I plan to buy a can of Spam so that when I make Grandma's Sally Ann cookies, I can cut them into the proper shape. (They taste different otherwise.)

Since then, life has blurred around the edges and my brain hasn't focused well. But I was still able to write, to make little connections: her harmonies that influenced my own musical taste, her alternating fashionable and practical clothing styles that subconsciously affected mine, and even (as my cousin pointed out) the source of my slightly crooked pinky fingers.

So much of her is part of me. Maybe that's why this feels like less of a goodbye. It doesn't make it easy, but it does add an element of peace.

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