Today was gorgeous from the moment I opened my eyes. The sun is shining, there is a breeze, and our coastal fog and clouds have given way to the first tastes of summer. My friend and pastor’s wife, Linda, came out this morning and met Eamonn and me at the beach. It was such a privilege to spend time with her. Linda is a mixture of insight and kindness and self-effacing grace that is truly rare to find in a person. She reminds me a lot of my mom, when I think about it.
We took turns chasing Eamonn into the icy waves and grabbing him out before he got dunked entirely. At one point, though, we were so caught up in a story Linda was telling me, that Eamonn took a roll into the drink and came up soaked. I wish I’d gotten my camera because the result was a little kid in a snow hat and sweatshirt and a diaper down to his knees who was screaming with delight at points as he chased sea gulls up and down the sand at the water line.
After our walk (it was more of a “stand” really…or perhaps a “wander” so let me restart that sentence…) — After our “wander” at the beach we headed to a local establishment of mythic esteem — Cessy’s. Home of one amazing fish taco. Eamonn munched on a bean burrito while Linda and I had our tacos and more conversation. It was just so NICE. On the outside I think I managed to talk and laugh and connect but on the inside I keep having this mental image of me just holding still and basking in the moment, trying to soak it all up and I realize now in hindsight that this is something I miss so much about my mom: Just sitting and talking with her. Guy, we had some great conversations. Linda is the type of person who has conversations like I used to have with mom — we could just talk and laugh and relax and go back and forth so easily from the mundane to the beautiful, from the spiritual to the everyday. Because really, these things are so intertwined anyway.
Linda returned one of my mom’s bibles to me, which we had loaned to her husband as he prepared my mother’s memorial service. (I just discovered her service is recorded and online on our church website, if you’re interested.) My mom’s bibles were worn, and loved, and written in, and annotated and prayed in — they were the story of her life interwoven with her learning about Christ. They are beautiful and probably the most treasured thing we have left of our mom other than, obviously, the way she loved each of us. I can’t wait to get it back to my father so that he can have them under his roof again.
I am weepy today. Not for any bad reason. I feel like I’m slowly breaking the news to my heart the way I’ve had to break the news to so many other people. I don’t know why it takes so long to set in. “She’s gone. She’s really gone.” But, how lovely, I think, that it’s beautiful days and wonderful time like Eamonn and I had with Linda today that bring me to my knees like this. These are the things that remind me most of her, and that allow me to whisper to my own heart again what it’s trying to grasp. Simply put, the lack of her.
Linda gave me a poem which I read in the car and will read again probably until the page falls apart:
Holy Sonnets .X.
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those, whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke; why swellest thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
This is a rambling post, and it’s been a bit of a rambling day. I may lie down for a while now that dinner is made.
Which reminds me: I will put up a recipe for my squash and barley soup tonight. It’s a great way for you gardeners to use up your squash without ever feeling like you’ve got too much once the harvest comes in. I really do think this soup is that good.