Finding The Solace

by - March 16, 2012

As night fell around us, smelling of immature spring and wishful thinking, we pushed along the highway, racing yellow lines to the end of a life - to the goodbye that waited among halls hung in dying.  Her eyes found mine, there when we arrived at her side for the farewell that burned behind our own eyes.  She squeezed weakly with fingers that had so often done for me what I rarely did for her - washed and fed and cleaned and held and I thought, how rare - the beauty in these hands, in this death that waits over the bed, these nails so clean, hand wrinkled with so many stories told.

She had heaven on her mind when she said it was enough - no more of these tubes that helped with the living - no more of this helplessness and weakness and fighting and I thought if I could just catch a bit of her- the her that sparked and burned - I could breath it back on her and hold on for just a little longer...

I fought through the singing, gathering around her in a love circle, pouring out Amazing Grace with our grief-weakened voices, cracking over syllables and refusing to look up when my sister couldn't sing past her tears and my father choked on his own sorrow - looking only to her and her slack mouth and thinking how desperately I missed the way she used to smile...this night would be her last...

I kissed her and she was like plastic.  I told her how I loved her.  I would not say goodbye.  I said, "I'll see you again soon" and I meant in heaven because this world was closing from her even as I caught the three tired squeezes against my fingers that I knew were to say she loved me too...

I felt weak and weepy as morning broke and the earth kept turning even though love might already be gone from it's atmosphere.  I waited for the call, for the shrill of the phone that would turn panic in my belly and prayers shooting to the skies that this not be the news I knew too well was coming.

Grandma and a wee Liam
I felt I was a well, a spring of memory and heartache ready to overflow it's bounds, pouring out a brine for the beauty of her legacy and I wanted only to remember her like this: the vibrant, playful, forgiving, joy-filled woman who chased me around the side of the old farm house with a badminton racket because I teased her for her ears - those big, MAD Magazine flappers that I myself proudly boast on either side.

And the call came.  And I felt my heart lift with what could be nothing but a miracle - this pulling through - this defying all odds - this faith of her's that could move mountains...And I could suddenly breath again and think about tomorrow and games of Lost Heir and maybe this time I could make her the apple pie...

Yesterday, I stood beside her bed once more and leaned in to hear the whisper of her voice, the sweetness of all her love poured over me in the blessing that I don't have to let go yet and I wanted to capture it all - the life she yet has, the way Grandpa wears this miracle in his smile, the faith that stirs through the room like wind that pollinates the world with hope...

How could I have taken one moment of it for granted?  We have but a little while.  May we be loath to ever squander it.

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© Alanna Rusnak