No one let me know. I thought it would just be me and my brother. I was moving so slowly, because I’d had a back spasm the day before. But I wanted to be with Tom. He’s a calm presence, my brother, and he’s my brother. He’s what I have left of blood, he and my niece and nephew. But Tom and Deb and I knew a lifetime together.
At a point when so much of that lifetime has disappeared, we take what we get. I’ll take Tom any day. And up till now, the frenzy of my life and my Deb chores had clashed with the frenzy of his. And time is passing…
So, once I pulled myself together, off i went, moving very carefully.
Only to arrive and find that the new owner-to-be was there. Painting. (oh, the things we do for mortgages.) I hadn’t realized that Tom wasn’t there because he had stuff he needed to finish for the house, but because Chris had stuff to finish and Tom wanted to make it easy for the sale to happen. So we could finish.
And he’s my brother. He needed to touch Deb too in the only way we can. By paying careful and consistent respects. (some day I’ll open the bag of clothes that I brought from her clothes. But not today. Not this week. Maybe not this month.) And there’s a deadline. let’s go, let’s let it go. Let’s finally face the emptiness.
I was taken aback. But, hey!, let’s go with the flow. And then it was wonderful, because the new owner’s dad is a friend and favorite musician and he dropped by to see it and I took him through no-longer-Deb-not-quite-Chris-and-Katie’s-house. He didn’t know. He didn’t know it was our family. He didn’t know Deb was dead. How could she be? When she was always so alive. So we wept and held each other a bit. And he goggled at the house his little boy was buying. The house where my sister’s impulse purchase drawings of San Francisco hang on the wall now and will continue to hang when the house closes, because, don’t you know, Katie grew up in SF.
And so it went. We unwound and they wound. I separated this from that. In the end it seemed that i stripped the varnish of Deb from the house while others were engaged in painting in their lives. And so it goes, eh? In and out, ebb and flow, life and death… and then… in, ebb, life.
Ah my heart is full and sad and happy and scared and broken and hopeful. Forever and ever amen. In the season of Autumn when the leaves fall away to cluster at the base of the tree to make new life. When love dissipates in death but lingers in memory and insists in life. There is more Peace somewhere… and we keep trying to find it. and there it is, transforming Peace which in its turn is transforming us.