I came to Elizabeth City, on Friday, after school with high hopes, of all sorts. The drive was really beautiful. The three rivers, I cross were full of shining blue water. I thought of the poem “Song of Hiawatha” as I went along. The day was mild and the forecast was that this would continue for a few days. I expected this would mean a few strolls around the village with Lyla and Brynn over the weekend.
I expected we would all go to Miss Claudias’ shortly after I arrived. She and I had a project to work on, after all. . . one I devised and she was ready to rush headlong in to! We had talked about it at the beginning of the week. The doctors said, Miss Claudia had but a few months left. The news had been crushing, but Miss Claudia kept us all lifted by her example. She did not complain but instead went on about her business.
Will was spending nights with his mom, so I thought to stay with Jenny and the little girls, would be helpful. I was already working on a long term plan. Christian said he would stay, when I couldn’t.
Will drove up just a few minutes after I did. Miss Claudia was sleeping, so it looked like I would see her the next day.
On Saturday, Will came in for breakfast. Miss Claudia was not yet up. Jenny and I thought we could take lunch over, but Miss Claudia was not yet up at noon. I was concerned, but pushed it aside. By around three, Jenny called the hospice nurse. The nurse came and my worse fear was confirmed -Miss Claudia died early on Sunday morning. She just went to sleep and peacefully drifted away from us, and so very gently, like a sparrow, bound for home.
We are all in a state of shock. Of course, we are all heartbroken. It seems like we are all in a horrid daze. Will, was shaken as I have never seen him . Lyla said her “Cici” had become an angel, but she “could not understand, why she had to do it now.”
The last few days already seem a blur. There is so much business to be taken care of with a death. The first time, I went to her house, was awful She wasn’t there and the whole thing seemed shocking all over again. We were all busy and exhausted, so that when a brief lull occurred, . . . I was sorry, for the hurt welled up inside, reviving the tragedy all over again.
One day the weather was especially. mild. Will was tending to all sorts of arrangements and details. Jenny was doing paperwork and I decided to take Brynn for a stroll. It could have been a day in April. Birds were singing and in the distance, I heard a tractor. I felt homesick, for lack of a better word, for everyone and for happy times. I know we are told repeatedly, to “live in the moment”, but this does not mean we must abandon all memories and so on this day, I indulged myself, til I was quite filled with melancholy.
It makes no difference the circumstances, loss is hard and may be the worst burden this life offers. We miss our loved ones, pure and simply put. Certainly, we are all glad that Miss Claudia was spared further suffering – we are all glad her passing was peaceful, but that does not bar us from the painful, deep ache of losing her.
The one time, that Miss Claudia cried about the whole affair, was because, she wouldn’t see Lyla and Brynn grow up and that Brynn wouldn’t even know her. Now that, still makes me weep. . .hence, ” our project” was born. I thought to create a journal , to tell Miss Claudias’ “story and she was every bit as excited, as I was. It was one of the last things we talked about. Rest assured, the project will go on, for the dear sister, “Julia” also known as “Aunt J” has agreed to help me.
I drove home on Wednesday under the same fair conditions, of the last few days. The service for Miss Claudia is on Saturday, and a lot of things had been taken care of, but how I wished I could have done more. To see the young shoulders of Will, bearing such grief and my Jenny caring for the children in the midst of it all, caused me to want to turn around and race back to the rescue. It felt so odd to just return to the routine of my life, as if something significant had not occurred.
When my grandmother died, I was annoyed that the world just went about its’ merry way, as if it didn’t matter that we lost a beautiful light, which seemed to drastically dim the planet. That very night, a full moon rose and shined like all was well and I couldn’t understand how Thanksgiving came anyway, when Uncle Randy had just died.
I know full well, this may be peculiar thinking, but such thoughts do pop in my head. . . much, like the wild dandelions, that spring up without fair warning.