This was supposed to be a day off, I think. There was glorious rain to wake me this morning– such a relief to break the heat. There were chores to do and a few appointments to keep, but the day stretched out ahead of us, like a long luxury. Then among the email this morning was a note from the president of a club we belong to– the son of a club member had died, was there still time to get it in the newsletter? The son is my age, and I didn’t know him, but I do know his mother, Sharon, and I knew that he had a brutal struggle with cancer.
Thoughts of Sharon stayed with me through the day– while bottle feeding kittens, and taking the dog to the vet and measuring the yard for a shed. My husband and son and I went for lunch at a Chinese buffet and while we laughed over our fortunes, I thought of Sharon and the absolute unrelenting unfairness in having to bury your child. No matter what the age, your mother is always your mother; your son is always your child. I made a space for a notice in the layout for the club newsletter and waited for the details that the obituary would furnish.
My old journalism habits are hard to shake, and after a while, I began to dig a little online, and I found the most extraordinary story. This man, the son o of our friend Sharon, had wanted more than anything to marry his longtime girlfriend. She who had stood by him through this awful business and all the rest. So their family and friends hustled to pull together a wedding for them, on something less than a shoestring budget. The whole nine yards: dress, cake, a beautiful spot by the lake, decorations, bridesmaids, ring bearer, flower girl. It’s hard to look at the photographs without tears welling in my eyes, particularly those pictures of the bride and groom together, and of the groom dancing with his mother in his arms.
Thirteen days later he drew his last breath.
What a remarkable thing, in the face of death, to focus instead on hope and love, to find beauty in the rain.
What I did today matters little. I’ll make a note of it for you tomorrow.