The kitchen table is bursting with the color of late summer. Sunflowers and black eyed susans are the centerpiece against the earthy tones of a dull gingham tablecloth The tea has steeped and despite the humid air, lends a sense of comfort to the ambiance.
We watch as she raises the tea cup, hand shaking, rings glistening in the sunbeam that cuts a cross on the table. Little do we know this will be our last tea time. Perhaps, had we lent more consideration to the moment, our conversation would have taken a different course.
"Don't you worry about me, girls...I've lived my life."
Her voice, unlike her hands, does not shake. It is firm, lending credibility to her statement, still...I dread the coming conversation.
"I'm ready!" Fist in the air, we can't help but smile.
My sister takes the subject a step further. I envy her ability to ask what my heart can't put into words.
"When you get there...if you get there...can you give a sign. Let us know you made it...but not a creepy one," she adds.
Just like that...as though this is something discussed over tea on a regular basis.
She turned her attention back to the humming birds at the window. How she loved to watch the humming birds.
And so...we thought, because she was ready...we were ready.
Perhaps, somewhere, inside, our heart was healing, but our minds, let alone hers, were not ready.
Not ready for the Germans lighting fires in the hospital room. Not ready to tell stories from a time before we existed. Not ready to see her slip away so slowly.
Oh, so many tears. Tears now as I type these words.
We came together...many we hadn't seen in ages. And we let her fly. No big affair, she would never had heard of such a thing. Just ashes, tossed to the wind and finding purchase in the mighty waters of the Bay of Fundy.
We returned to a house that was different. Smelled different. Felt different.
My sister and I both turned to the window, where she had spent so many afternoons entranced by the flickering hummingbirds that would visit the feeder, hoping to perhaps see one, to take that as the sign she had crossed, that she was okay.
For once, the air was calm. No breeze approaching with the incoming tide. Completely still.
And as we stood there, we watched that humming bird feeder, with no cause or reason, simply fall. To this day, I've not seen the birds return, though the feeder has been waiting.
Posting for the Halloween edition of The Wednesday Wake Up Call over at NWCU where Joanne is prompting us to honor our ancestors. This particular piece is dedicated to my grandmother, who passed in August. The only person I've ever known to accept me just as I am and urged me to seek every dream I ever dared to dream. Love you Vi.