Sit with me here for a minute, won’t you? I need to give you my words.
I hear rumors you’re still lingering a bit, that some quirky things have happened since you ‘left’: a cork popping out of a wine bottle; things that were lost in your house, found later in the place already searched; a baby toy saying “bye” when people would walk by it; your Mom’s grave side rose suddenly breaking right when she said she would miss your sense of humor; a dinner time visiting hummingbird; a joker card from an unknown deck found face down in your back yard. None of this surprises me. You so love your people. I am positive it was you who pushed the bale of hay off the truck at the EXACT moment it passed and I was making a wish. I’ve been wishing on truckloads of hay for forty years and that has NEVER happened. Ummm…rude! But I hear you loud and clear Lib: “Be happy with what you have. Stop wishing for what you can’t.”
When you cut my hair in April I kinda knew it would be the last time. I could feel your exhaustion; it was in the air thick and weary. But your magic still happened. I’m not really talking about the hair cut. Though damn girl! Anyone who can make MY hair look good is a true Hair Whisperer. The magic was in this stuff:
Sometimes we had the place to ourselves. Once we floppy danced to a couple of songs, music loud, laughing and free spirited before the business of hair art began.
Other days you timed appointments so that I would meet people you knew I needed in my life: magic match making and I have some amazing friends because of it. You wove this eclectic mosaic of people into a colorful web with you at its center and it was fully pronounced at your full house funeral, like Charlotte’s Web only bigger. Except that’s weird, me comparing you to a spider. But she was a really smart, witty and oh so pretty, spider. Just sayin’.
Tears: GOD there were tears and they were often mine. And you were the one with cancer. Sometimes you would whack me with your brush if they were ‘me being stupid’ tears. Once it was because I said “CUT IT ALL OFF” and you gleefully did and it was fantastic but it was so damn short so I cried and then you cried with me. Sorry. It was just so shocking.
Ideas turned into plans in your hair chair. St Nicholas Festival for Assumption School developed from me voicing “what if” and you saying “I’m in, let’s do it!” Last December was our fifth year: we were both supposed to be done the year before but we couldn’t yet fully pass the torch on our brain child. Not sure what I will do this year but I know you’ll be watching the total chaos with a shit eating grin on your face while the little kids shop for presents at Santa’s Workshop. I’d kinda like to be there too, even though I don’t much like kids. Ha! It was you who brought joy to that project so thanks: glad we did one more year together. I know it was hard on you. Also, I owe you big for discovering one year that I had accidentally put my wedding ring along with all my other jewelry on the $1.00 table. I’m still not sure how that happened.
Ten days after my last haircut you notified a handful of us that you were done with chemo, which was no longer keeping the cancer at bay. It brought me to my knees, the idea of not getting to watch you love your life for very much longer.
I thought you would stay longer but I think you had it all worked out perfectly, or maybe you just went along with the perfect plan.
You are discretely flipping me off in the last picture I took of you the night before your 49th birthday (and exactly one week before you left). You’d said “I have energy and want to take advantage of it. A few of us are meeting at JJ’s for an hour. Can you come?” Turns out it was about 50 people. “I knew you wouldn’t come if I told you how many is a few” you said to me as I sat across from you, watching you watch everyone with a grin, taking it all in. The love in that room glowed and I could see it, the goodbye, and what a baby I was, trying to smile with you and not cry. Crying is silly but it’s what I do in reaction to things more powerful than me. You have told me so many times that it’s okay that I do this…shit I’m crying now, all snotty and puffy gross. You ordered a Mojito and it came with a giganticus glob of wilted mint. You just kept it in front of you, your birthday drink, a bit of normalcy before your intense last jaunt in the journey of OUR “here and now” but I saw you push the little button on your med bag instead of sipping your drink. I was so lucky to be there that night. Thanks for tricking me.
Several people felt it before they knew it, the day you left us. I expressed this to a mutual friend: “It was a tug, a movement that shifts everything. And it helps feeling this because it replaces the fear of the unknown with a tingling sense of adventure.”
Brave and wicked funny sister wife: my words do not do you justice but they are filled with awe and love. So glad I know you. Thank you.
P.S. I still don’t regret the SuperBowl ‘thing’. You know the cancer card never worked on me. Mostly. But you can hit me with your brush when I see you again if it will make you feel like you were right. I hope they have hairbrushes in heaven.