My mother died last week

She was sick. The accretion of conditions related to smoking years ago and other things were taking their due.

John 20:1 NIV
[1] Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

John 20:19-23 NIV
[19] On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” [20] After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. [21] Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” [22] And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Sometimes we drive in the dark

Every once upon a time I take the girls

Driving in the dark

We look for places to call home–ramshackle garage, vape shop, dry cleaner with its window smashed

In the apocalypse there is still no

Room left in the inns of the world they ask

Why did she have to stick the needle in her arm? Why did she stick the needle in her arm? What was it about the needle that

Caused us to lose her?

The little one has poured her anger out over her minders all afternoon

Unwilling to face what it costs them

So I try to de Bergerac her through the necessary obsequities

I tell her I will whisper the words and she will shout–

I’m sorry

I’m sorry!

I’m sorry I was mean before

I’m sorry I was mean before

I was working out my grief

I was working out my grief

And sometimes there is anger in grief

And sometimes there is anger in grief

She has such a comical little girl voice

But when she says these things I know what God means

When He whispers in my ear

Lanterns to release in air

She wore a soft, pink sweater (her sister bought) as though the cool chill of October could touch her anymore and the small group of people gathered at her ad hoc memorial are floating up as the sky darkens

The ashes and the pink sweater and the flash of inexplicable light get me again and again

I have to conjure some litany for this–

Sprite, fly

Luminesce

Alight upon yonder shore

Beat Yins to the House!

When we met Mary and Charles they had some vocabulary specific to the western Pennsylvania region. They used the word yins for the second person plural, the way a Texan would say y’all or a Parisian would say vous.

I’m-gonna-beat-yins-to-the-house! She would yell joyfully, running up the small hill to the porch.

Eventually she lost the yins

But I am praying that she did

Beat us to the House

Shibboleth

When Mary talks now on the Fisher-Price phone of loss, she speaks with a five year old’s falsetto. She is breezy, upbeat even, and we exchange pleasantries through the medium of her daughter’s voice.

Mary, the girls have your laugh, I try to tell her before the line cuts off. Mary, I always wanted to be your real mom, I tell her before the line clicks off. Mary, that last day haunts me. The girls talk as though you still have the giant carnival unicorn, as though you tucked it under your arm and carried it right through

The earth will soon dissolve like snow/The sun forebear to shine/But God who called me here below/will be forever mine

How do I thank her?

Last week I flew to Pittsburgh, got a rental car to Ohio, picked up my adopted granddaughters, and flew home.

Overall they both did remarkably well traveling cross-country with a stranger, but in the Nashville airport Em lost it. She just did not want to go from gate C whatever to gate A whatever, so she wailed and squirmed as I carried her.

By the time we got to A whatever I was reddened and drenched with sweat, utterly convinced that cardio-resistance workouts do not “go with” masking

And she remained in high dudgeon, as Jane Austen would say.

I was genuinely concerned she would not calm down and I would not be allowed to board a plane with a screaming, squirming child and I would be stranded, far from home, with an inconsolable child.

An amazing woman came to my rescue. She bought the girls coloring books, a bottle of water, tic tacs, She talked us through, back to normal and calm enough to board a plane.

I did not ask her name or get her address, but I wish I had

Knowing, as I do, that I could never thank her enough.

When the heartbeat in question means the whole world

I don’t have time to write this blog. My house is chaos, I am behind in my “day job,” and my adopted granddaughters live with us now.

Both girls have been through fires, literally and figuratively.

As I see headlines about the Texas heartbeat law, I cannot stop thinking about what an appalling loss to me and the world entire it would be if they were not here.

They, like all my kids, light up my world. If one were missing, the loss would be unbearable.

That is what the rhetoric hides–each child saved from abortion is a

Little girl twirling in a princess dress

A little boy looking for spiny lizards

A child who knows grownup words long before they should

An irreplaceable light in the darkness.

Songs from the Nerdy Guy

I have friend who is an aficionado of romance. I am too old for that stuff myself, but I tell her that

Jesus is like the nerdy guy who likes you at the lunchroom table you should sit at but what will the cool kids think?

Yep. I am way past cool kids and would argue that if that were a thing, the guy who pays it all for us would have to be the coolest one of us all

But he is ok being

The nerdy guy who

Sends us love songs

All the time