As she turned from the stove and set the platter of scrambled eggs and toast on the table in front of them, she felt something unfamiliar, unexpected. Her breath caught. Her eyes filled with tears. Puzzled by this sudden wave of emotion, she turned her back to her three children. The sounds of their breakfast table banter reassured her. No one had noticed her tears. Their voices rose and fell as children’s voices do; arguments give way to laughter as naturally as summer gives way to fall.
Their presence at the breakfast table felt somehow important today. The teasing and retaliation more like music than a reason to scold.
Standing at the kitchen sink, bathed in morning sunlight, listening to the voices of one boy and two little girls, everything felt exactly right.
Without turning around, she said “The bus is coming” – which caused a flurry of activity; plates splashing into the dishwater, the slamming of a screen door and then silence.
She watched until the bus was out of sight and then went and opened the door for the small brown dog who, in the absence of his boy, was her daytime companion.
She moved about the house; making beds, washing windows, watering plants, deliberately making her way to her art studio. Light streamed into this room through four glass walls, making her feel like she was at the top of the world. A slender, tabby cat stirred as she entered; stretching and returning to sleep in the sun.
As always, the blank canvas beckoned. Time melted away as blues and greens mingled with shades of brown. Horizons appeared, as did tumultuous skies.
The sound of the screen door creaking and then banging closed jarred her back to real life. Again, she listened to the three voices. A boy, and two little girls. Going about their day in this house ~ out into the world, and back again. A perfectly wonderful, average day. Yet somehow magical. Important… Significant?
The unnamable feeling threatened to pull her into sadness just as they entered the room; bringing that certain brand of kid happiness with them. She listened to stories of friends and school work, recesses and field trips before they disappeared to the yard to do whatever kids do in the yard after school.
When she called them to dinner, the sun was low. The world, beginning to settle. The kitchen table came alive with this mother, and her three kids sharing the stories of their day. They were joined by two baby dolls, and a salamander in a Mason jar. A small brown dog and a tabby cat rested at their feet ~ just like any perfectly wonderful, average day.
She awoke with a start, surrounded by darkness. Even so, she could feel all three were near. The world was quiet. The only light, a gleaming sliver, reaching under the bedroom door.
This had been her perfect day. Important. Indeed significant.
And now the boy moves from beside her and whispers “It’s time. We have to go.”
The light in the room expands as he pulls open the door. She stands with him in this light, remembering how long he’s been gone from this world; how many years she’s longed to see his face again. How many times she’s wished he’d known his two little sisters. That they had known him. The brown dog, and the tabby cat are waiting patiently for her in the stream of light.
She looks back at the bed where her frail body lies. Her daughters, and their children sit in silent vigil.
She is surrounded by Love. And now, the Light.
Mom’s been in the Light for seven years today. Yesterday when I realized the anniversary was upon me, I was drawn to write something about her. For her. This is her perfect day as I imagine it. Minus a few more cats and the presence of her parents. Creative license, I guess. I enjoy imagining that she was able to experience her perfect day in the moments that she lay so still and quiet in that bed. Before her boy took her hand and they walked together into that shimmering light. I would end this by saying something poetic, like “Rest well, Mom.” but, she told us once when she knew Heaven was getting closer that she “had a lot of things to do when she got there.” It was clear that she had something specific in mind, but it never occurred to me to ask. It felt personal. And like she couldn’t probably explain it anyway.
Here’s to you, Mom. Go get ’em.