Thursday, September 3, 2009

Anniversary Day

The morning is sunny and clear and crisp as she wanders into the back of the church where she meets one of the priests who have been her mainstays for the past year. The two of them sit in one of the pews of the cavernous sanctuary and talk and pray for an hour. That makes how many hours in the company of Jesuits over the past few days? She has no idea where they have found the time and the patience to listen and listen, and read email after email, month after month. She is not asking.

She spends the day taking walks and reading her email and FB notes and listening to multiple versions of Hallelujah over and over again. Her brother calls, as he does every couple of days. Her father doesn't. At noon the regular mail arrives, bringing more cards and one of the most extraordinarily beautiful letters she has ever received. Blogging has its rewards.

It seems that candles are being lit all over the place. Her own candle is lit and re-lit, as she and her husband come and go during the day.

As the afternoon turns to evening, she and her family go down the hill to the university, where with about 30 friends they take a leisurely walk past places meaningful to her son. The auto and aviation museum where, impassioned about planes, he volunteered during the summer before high school. The Gehry building which had fascinated him. The university soccer field, emblematic of the many fields on which he played across several states and two countries. The art institute where he studied photography while he was in high school. She spends most of the walk deep in conversation with her son's lower el (1st-3rd grade) teacher. He clearly treasured that small boy, and is trying as hard as everyone else to put the pieces together.

They start back up the hill through Little Italy and spend the rest of the evening on the outdoor patio of one of the restaurants, tiny lights twinkling above them. Friends from 20-plus years of Methodist and Presbyterian churches. Friends and teachers from Montessori days. Grown children who, until last year, had spent nearly every Christmas together. It's interesting to see where the longest and strongest connections have been soldered together; they seem to have been borne out of the preschool and elementary school parenting and teaching years. Those magical times somehow created the possibility that adults and grown children might one day face down sorrow together.

The day is filled with love and compassion, friendship and presence. If only her son had remembered in those dark hours how filled with riches his life was.

11 comments:

Dr. Rural said...

I've thought of you and your son often this past week, with many prayers for you and your family.

Karen and Joe said...

Thanks for sharing with us some of how you got through your day. I know there was a lot going on inside that cannot be put into words--the never-ending "why", the longing, the frustration and the ache that such a day evokes. I am grateful that so many were there for you and with you. It's the only thing that helps. That and lots of prayer, which you had as well. God surely laid you on my heart in a special way this week.
Peace and comfort to you all.
Karen

Diane said...

prayers ascending for you today.

Jennifer said...

My prayers, too. All week long.

Carol said...

It sounds as though you spent the day and evening with those whose lives are important to you and to whom Josh was important as well. I continue to hold you in my thoughts and prayers.

Jodie said...

So often you make me feel I need to take my shoes off to read your blog. Grief so profound that it cannot be experienced even by the one who feels it... is holy. And yet, as I read it, I feel it. A lovely offering.

Lisa :-] said...

So good that you could spend the day remembering, instead of trying to forget.

Kathryn J said...

I wondered about your day. I'm glad that there were friends and memories to get you through it. I too wish Josh had been able to discern how much he was loved and by how many people.

Jennifer said...

I echo Jodie's comment about taking off my shoes--to feel the dirt, the pebbles, the grass....life....your words truly are sacred. As you wrote of your day "in the third," I found myself sensing that it was in some ways more powerful than you could bear in the voice of "I." May you continue to have the wisdom to step in and out of these voices as you need, as the sacred story continues.

Rev SS said...

my shoes are off too as I read yet another profound post. glad to hear you continue to be supported and accompanied on the journey

karengberger said...

I'm thankful that you had solace of so many kinds during this hard day. Friendship and love are safe havens. Sending loving thoughts to you now, as always.