Wednesday, January 16, 2013

That which cannot be seen

image via Simon A. Thalman
It's Spirit Week at school and E has been haphazardly participating. Monday's theme didn't appeal to her, yesterday's was better and today's made her indecisive. It's mythological creatures day. She didn't want to craft a whole costume and I suggested maybe we could find a creature on one of her shirts.

I was not giving her the full measure of my concentration and mumbled something as I pulled through the pile of clean laundry about having just seen her unicorn shirt.

But unicorns aren't mythological, Mama.

Oops. Right.

She believes with a child's full faith in unicorns and the tooth fairy and the God she cannot see. There are lessons there, even as I feel insufficient to absorb them.

And if only one can summon the comfort of full faith without doubt, it becomes easier to think about these past two weeks, about last night. The lovely husband's grandmother, the kids' Gigi, the anchor of the family passed away last night. The kids: our life-affirming, rosy-cheeked, luminous legacy, they were asleep or supposed to be, and so we did not tell them last night. We did not tell them this morning before school, leaving them one last day safe in the worldview that death has never touched their family tree as they've known it. We used today to breathe in our own reactions, address logistics, tie up work projects. We cleared schedules to be home early, we told them after school, we sat all together and gave the very worst news.

If one can summon the optimism of faith, one can say that she is in a better place now, that she is comforted and reunited with the loves of her life who went before her. We told ourselves and the kids and each other how much she loved her family, how a release from pain is a blessing, how she will live on in her memories.

And so we will do our part: we will live on, face a funeral and grief and mourning, new knowledge and new questions, old photographs and old memories.

May her memory be a blessing.


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