My mother-in-law died last week.
It's hard to beleive it has been a week. At these Signposts of Life I always want to cling to the post, and then I try counting steps as I walk away. But sooner or later, you lose track and you're just walking, and past the milestone.
But I was talking about my mom-in-law.
Donna Marie Calire, sixty years old, mother of three and wife, and Nana to almost six. Small and lithe, possessing more of a dancer's body than I (with fifteen years lessons) was ever blessed with. Long fingers that tucked and sewed and created. An architects intellect. Slow as honey sentences. Belonging to a different age, what with her spinning wheel and loom and false eyelashes and her collections of tiny, breakable things.
Donna. Who whenever I would leave, would say, "My girl. Don't leave me." Who patted me on the shoulder the first time I entered her house (her domain, her world) and said, "Please, make yourself at home. Really, you don't need to ask." Who was surprised to discover, a week away from death, that she had been beautiful child.
Who was surprised to find so many people would be bereft with her gone.
Oh, dear one. We aren't ready to lose you. You have six grandchildren who will hopefully inherit your avid brain, your penchant for crossword puzzles, your expert fingers, your kindness, your grace. Who will teach them to honor your gifts? My daughter will probably not remember you. I fancy myself a storyteller, but I know I cannot do your story justice.
Oh, Donna. We already miss you, and we haven't even had to try doing without you yet.
Even in the morass of your illness, you comforted those around you, prayed for the pastor who was there to shepherd you, apologized for your supposed awkwardness. Asked, gently, to be allowed to grieve your life.
Even in the hospital bed, you moved and spoke with grace. You lifted your hand and waved the fingers in a Giselle like gesture, as you always did, to get the blood moving. Who but you could turn a stretch into a thing of beauty?
Donna. We are mourning you, but are anticipating seeing you again. Surely, your workshop now is a thing of delight. Surely, you are with your Father, who created you to be that beautiful child, and who took you back into His arms, saying, "well done, good and faithful servant."