"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

Monday, January 16, 2012

A thank you note....

Dear Jackie;
Thank you, dearheart, for the scarf. Overly long, just the way I like a real scarf. And warm, like I could go to Siberia and wrap my head up in it and not get frost in my lungs. And still its cute. It looks just like something you'd pick, with lots of blue and smokey color. I always liked that we both preferred blue. It made shopping so easy. I love the earrings too, threadders seemed a bit daring for you, but I hear you had help. My old threadders broke, so these are a welcome replacement. And the beading looks like something you would choose. Perfect, of course.

I watched that box all week, thinking how strange it is to have a posthumous gift. Not the first time in my life, since my grandfather died in the wee hours of Christmas morning two decades ago, but a rare thing. Did you leave a gift for Janice, too? I bet you did; you thought of everything.

It felt like it ought to be something deeply significant, but the mundaneness of a scarf and earrings was something right and also profound. These are the products of a material world to which you were bound, I am still, and altogether fitting and proper. But how strange that this is no longer your world. What gifts would you give if you were to "shop" today?

How lovely, though, that Richard helped you shop when we were home at Thanksgiving. A few final outings, a last taste of the material and everyday. How lovely that you went out to the grocery store with me and that we talked about the silly things of buying pasta and the fleeting thoughts of being embarrassed by your post stroke and post cancer appaerance and knowing that it didn't matter what others thought, you were still beautiful. It will always be important to me that you had energy about you that day, that your voice danced on the words, that we understood one another when words failed, and that when I remarked on these things you said how much easier it was for you to speak fluently again when you knew the person you spoke to was listening and understanding you.

I wonder, sometimes, if you can read these things. You forgot to knock a picture off the wall, as you had months ago, before you were even diagnosed, promised to do. But the calendar fell about the time you passed, in the room where I was. If that was you, thanks for choosing something that couldn't shatter. I was never sure what I thought of your fascination with ghosties, but when you were so very sick I did quietly hope you'd pick something ugly or unbreakable.

I miss cooking for you. And chatting with you. And how you loved, absolutely delighted in and were totally curious about everything. Except heights, of course.

Thanks. For just being you. For being my mother-in-law for sixteen and a half years. And for being one of my dearest friends all along.

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