This is what love looks like.
Love rooted deep in years of determined friendship.
Decades of friendship. The kind that sees and shares and survives love and loss and work and trial and tragedy and joy.
What a privilege to witness, and what a joy to be part of!
With decades behind them, there were endless episodes of life to recount, and they did so in the way only best friends can do — in bits and pieces, and stops and starts, sometimes in unison and sometimes with laughter filling the gaps. It was magical and fun to be with them, lovingly engulfed in their ever-ready fold. They so willingly tucked me into their memories for a time, and gave such beautiful roots to mine.
But last Saturday there we were, for the second time in as many weeks, paused at the threshold of her room, each lost in our own thoughts, but hearts beating in unison for the beautiful woman whose life played out in pictures and memories surrounding her strong but oh so fragile frame, laying on the bed before us.
She was beautiful. Covered deeply in blankets with the sun filtering through her silver hair, a slight winter breeze filling her room, and a favorite book held firmly in her grasp.
We simply watched her for a few moments. His heart filled to overflowing with the moments they’d collected, mine so thankful to have shared in some, yet aching in the knowledge that what we have is what there will be.
We can somehow feel both simultaneously: the joy in living out the love, and the incomprehensible ache in living through the loss. If I’ve learned anything these last two years, it’s that. But I’ve also learned much about the strength and pull and enduring nature of love, and that’s what drew us through and near to her that day.
What a privilege, to share life as it nears its end. A hard and tough and beautiful privilege…ushering one out, as angels ready to usher them in.
Tonight’s tempest of rain lays testament to our tears as we mark this first day, the first day in 97 years the earth hasn’t awoken to her beautiful soul; to a life lived in such service to others.
But there is rejoicing in Heaven this night as well, and the showers that pound the earth with rain would also quench us, for she left us with this:
She loved with a heart wide-open, so much to so many through the years. But in the end, it’s not the deeds she would have us remember; it’s simply the love. An entity unto itself, with infinite capacity to expand when we let it. That’s what she showed us, and that’s what she would have us know.