The first time I met her, it was her eyes that I noticed first. Warm, sparkling and kind, they held her soul, for sure. They sparked with a kinetic joy and light for life.
Now, her eyes are mostly closed as she rests, preparing to leave. She opens her eyes long enough to connect with her husband, her children and grandchildren, pouring her love into them. Giving them one more, and perhaps one last, dose of her unconditional love.
Maureen is dying.
She’s the type of woman whom once you meet, you just want to sit with her, talk to her and bask in her. I consider myself blessed to have done just that, many times. I remember an intimate dinner at her and her husband’s home and my mind reverberates with echoing clinks of wine glasses, laughter and meaningful conversation.
I remember a black tie event Hubby and I attended with dear friends, and Maureen was among them. As usual, I fell into a deep talk with her. Luckily, a friend took this photo while we chatted. I will always cherish it as it encapsulates Maureen. Loving. Connected. Supportive. True.
I remember her toast at Hubby’s and my wedding. I can see her full smile perched just above her champagne flute; I see her Irish eyes dancing along with her joyous words.
I’ve thought of Maureen and her family constantly the last three days. Many times I’ve found myself crying. My memories entwine with my prayers for their peace and comfort.
Mixed in my mirage of thoughts, is, for some reason, an image from a hike I took with the kids last summer. On this hike, we always stop at a beautiful pond. Abby and Henry gathered stones (as they always do) and threw them into the pond. The sound of the stone breaking the pond’s calm surface was distinct. Then, we stood and witnessed the ripples on the water.
Maureen’s legacies are innumerable, just like the vast-reaching ripples on a pond. Maureen has a husband and together, they have three children and four grandchildren. Years ago, her youngest son, Mick, dated one of my dearest friends, Meg. 12 years ago, at a Halloween party in Northern Michigan (Up North as the regulars call it), Mick and Meg introduced me to my future husband. If it weren’t for them, I doubt I’d ever have met Hubby. If I hadn’t met Hubby, the Love of my Life? Well, I’d prefer not to consider this alternate reality.
I know that Maureen’s life had a hand in mine. Without the random (or not so random?) course of these computations and ripples, not only would I not have met my husband, but I never would have experienced my children or that moment at the pond.
Eventually, of course, the water stopped coursing. Naturally, the water returned to its original calm, tranquil state as the rock nestled into the thick, organic mud of the pond floor.
Although Maureen’s breath is fading, the effects of her life are forever lodged into the hearts and conscience of all lucky enough to have known and loved her. When she leaves us, a chasm will be left in her wake.
“To live in this world,
You must be able
to do three things;
to love what is mortal
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.”
Maureen let go this morning. I am still trying to let her go.