no good thing ever dies

It was snowing the day we celebrated Celia’s life, as if someone were throwing confetti from the heavens.  Andy drew his arms around me like a warm coat on our way into the church.  Downtown, we could see the bone structure of the landscape, the whole city glistening.  Or maybe that was just through blurry eyes. What we could not see was the next day without her, let alone a lifetime.

I am reluctant to acknowledge the date, hesitant to spend too much time on the fact that so much time has passed.

Sometimes, though, the things we miss need to be named.

Hers was worth seven points in a game of Scrabble, matched her great great grandmother's, meant heavenly.

Is that where she is? her brothers still ask, At heaven's house?
I don't know.  I don't know.  But she is not here.  She hasn’t been for one thousand ninety five days.
She is extraordinarily dynamic though, despite her condition of being most decisively not alive.  She is a regular presence in our lives, despite her very obvious absence.

I wonder if part of the reason I sometimes feel heavy is because I carry a little bit of her with me.  But that doesn't really makes sense, because she was light.  She was Light.
I am sure her spirit abides with me.  When I struggle to sense life, instead only feel it's absence, I've learned to follow a whisper to find her.  She was bright in her baby brothers, but as they become less her and more themselves we see her elsewhere.  I can still catch her in their smiles, a soft glow, but notice her more in the world around them, in the snowflakes that fall in the winter and the flowers that rise in the spring, in the way music floats through the sanctuary.  In the way sad tastes when the tears reach the corners of my lips, in the charitable donations and in the silences we keep.  In the shadows on my face, in the longing that lingers in all the lines that have formed there.  In a stray pink ballon, a friendly butterfly, a twirling pinwheel, a curly head of red hair, Hello, I'm heres abound.   She is always with us, in our hearts and thoughts, and in our hopes for the future.

And we have big ones, they just no longer include french braids and ballet slippers.  We hope, instead, for her brothers.  For us, the boys practically conjugate the word: I have hoped.  I am hoping.  I will hope.
Uncertainty is the certainty from which we build our lives, embrace our days.  But we do it all with strong hope. We grab an extra carton of milk, plant flowers, plan trips and buy green bananas because we anticipate the days ahead.  A lifetime without her seems like a long time.  But we know that hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.*

*Shawshank Redemption


Unknown said...

Beautifully put.

It's my birthday today. It's a weird aspect of life how the same day can hold joy for some and grief for others.

rht said...

I always appreciate Celia's presence, and today it's giving me more smiles of remembrance than sorrowful tears.

Christen said...

And that's the most lovely photo in the world.

Poppy John said...


McKenna said...

This is so, so beautifully said. What a tribute to her life.