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Tuesday, May 4

real life

I've been plugging along, in production mode (which I hate but it's necessary), focused on the beginning of the season. The weekend was interrupted by a surprise visit from my son, which brought much joy. After years of seeing him just twice a year because of the distance, having him within a 7 hour road trip is such a gift.

So, things are plodding along as usual. I'm in the rhythm, the new stuff is working nicely, my PT job hours are now down to "hardly there" , most of my apps have been either accepted or rejected or put on hold. I'm able to see how the year will unfold, finally, and that eases my stress.

And then real life stepped in. My real life is that a long time ago, when I was very young, I fell in love and married an even younger man from a big Irish family. It was a short union that produced my beautiful boy and gave me an extended family of folks that continued to care for me long after we divorced. One of them, in particular, stayed close to my heart. The woman I still call "sister-in-law", the one who refused to let us drift too far.

She married young too, and I remember how her parents opposed this reckless dash to wed. I remember the small wedding and a family dinner in a restaurant. So different from my big fancy do the year before. They were married 36 years. And then, tragically, this weekend, her husband lost a short battle with a rare blood cancer that we all thought he had a chance to beat. A bone marrow transfer was set to go. He just had to get strong enough. He never did.

What do you say to a person at times like this? There are no words that can help, but I sent her a note, via email as is the way these days, that she was in my heart and I would be there for her. I already knew she was surrounded by her kids and sibs and that there would be a time later when the comfort of woman talk would be called for.

She wrote back, a sad and honest note about her struggle, said she knew I would be there for her when things settled and then she wrote something that squeezed my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

"For the first time in 36 years, I don't know where he is."

I was in the parking lot at Borders, reading email on my iPhone, not expecting to have my world shift into a new focus. I ran my finger over the screen, touched her words, rested my head on the cool window.

And then Russell came back to the car with his package, chattering happily about the book he just got, how the 30% coupon saved him a bunch of money. I just looked at him, looked at him, reached out to touch him, rested my head on his shoulder, kissed his cheek.

"What?", he said, smiling.

"Nothing". I said, "just glad to be with you, to know where you are."

1 comment:

Terry said...

You are too sweet, Mr Russell is a lucky man.