Friday, November 16, 2007

Today I Lit a Candle

I lit a candle today.

In remembrance.

For love and hope.

And with the unshakable knowledge that life goes on, forever.

To remind myself that, though the flickering light of candle flame may go out, it never dies. Like life it simply alights elsewhere and continues to burn with love and joy.

On Tuesday my mother called to tell me that one of my dear friends and mentors lay dying. She has been a family friend for many years and was one of my young women leaders. She trusted me, one week between my junior and senior years of high school, to care for her sweet children. Now that I am a mother, I understand the sacred trust that was. She was always so good to me and to so many others. She lifted me up and made me feel sure that I would grow up to be a good woman. I loved her so very much.

So did the rest of my family. Her husband and my father have been like brothers for many years. She and my mother have been dear friends, which is why she got a call on Tuesday to let her know that Heidi was dying. So she could have a chance to say goodbye. She called me on the way and we wept together and talked of the good woman Heidi has been. I told her to tell Heidi goodbye for me, as well, to tell her how much I loved her.

I wanted, that very day, to drop everything I had to do and also go to her side. But, I realized that what I really want is to reclaim the years I've lost in wanting to rekindle the relationship and never acting on that wish. I wanted her to know my sweet children, for them to know her. But, I never got around to it. I realized that running to say goodbye would not change that, so I left my mother to send my love and give my goodbyes for me. And I took my daughter to the dentist and my son to preschool and did the laundry and loved my baby. I called JDub and told him what was going on and how I really wanted to go see her, but felt I needed to stay with my children and keep on.

"Don't worry," he said. "You are just being the good woman she always hoped you'd be."

And, of course, the tears came fresh and hot.

She passed peacefully Wednesday evening -- at home with her family. Her funeral is tomorrow.

And I am left to wish I had done more to reach out these last few years, as multiple sclerosis tore her body apart while keeping her mind intact. I wish I had gone to be with her, to talk with her, to help her. Too late. Too late.

So, I will do what the living do. I will light a candle and I will LIVE. I will fold the laundry and write poetry and eat chocolate and love my children desperately.

And I will hope that the love I give and the life I live are fitting tribute to those who have given so much of their love and lives to me.


sara said...

I often think of all the women in my life who have made a mark. YW leaders, neighbors, teachers... My first grade teacher was such a beautiful person and I loved her so much. We kept in touch for a while and then she moved on to Utah. I chickened out of sending her a grad announcement. I worry these women won't remember me but after reading your sweet post - I don't care! They don't have to remember me for me to be thankful for them. This will be my goal for the next week - to find them and send all of them something.

Emily said...

i am so sorry for your loss. she sounds like an amazing woman.