Wisps to Love By

When I scroll down my email contact list, I see “Jessica Harries”. She took her own life a year ago. From a distance I watched her become a beautiful adult. I wish I’d tried to spend more time with her (I tell myself I was too busy). Soon after her death she whispered a promise in my thoughts, “I’ll help you learn how to love more.” She’s kept her word. Jessica was in such physical pain I understand why she had to go, and yet… At her funeral, my son, five and eager to understand, stretched himself on the gound, eyes fastened on her casket (overflowing with brilliant red, white, yellow, pink and orange carnations), chin in hand. Her death is still important to him.
Every time I see her name tears visit. I let an image of her form behind my eye lids. I’m listening. I can’t bring myself to remove a suggestion to reflect on her beauty.
This morning, sifting through the same digital log, I saw “Stephanie Urrea,” another lost friend. We met Stephanie and her son Gideon only twice during our family’s five week stay in Alabama. We kept in touch for three years, until her first lump. I received a letter from her mother earlier this week. As soon as I saw an unfamiliar name posting from Florida, I knew. She was writing me back on her daughter’s behalf, her daughter who, “On Feb 7 2009, lost her three year battle with inflammatory breast cancer.” When I sent Stephanie a note last month I had hoped to, but did not believe I would receive a reply in her own words. Too many emails never returned two years ago.
I’ll continue to scroll past her name, every letter left in place, allowing myself a second to feel a twinge of sadness and love.
Aunt Bea, my brother-in-law’s nanny (a large woman from the south) who he cared for in her later years, always greeted seven year old M with disbelief and joy, “Is that you?! You’re gettin’ so big! How you doin’ today?” The boy who shied away from almost every other adult lingered in her room, face upturned to this old woman who loved him, happy to answer the same questions every time. We stayed with her for uncounted quiet hours in her last earthly days. D, ten, wrote her a story. At her bedside, beside a vanishing silent form, he read aloud to his friend. A breath of a smile formed on her lips.
Now and then, especially at bed time, M wraps his arms around my neck and says, “I didn’t want Bea to die.

“Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendors on the loftiest mount.” – Abdu’l-Baha

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