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We chat about redbuds and the best kind of molasses. Lessons are made of wings to the feeder, rainbows fleeting just beyond the window sill. Stories are retold time and again.

He’s reminisced more than once about his grandmother (Darthula) and of his favorite time of year – the anticipated weeks just before her arrival, before her visit (she traveled by foot o’er many miles, unless someone with a wagon was coming their way).

She held him closer than most, breathed in his ‘little boy’ skin, whispered kisses, baked like a mad woman, and brought with her a treat they otherwise couldn’t well afford – corn flakes.

Prior to his birth, there was no real baby, as the youngest of the children had passed. He was both unexpected and treasured. His sisters spoiled, as his brothers watched over him.

He didn’t care much for eggs, but loved sausage (still loves sausage). Grandpa would sometimes rise at two just to fry him up a skillet full.

There is no leaving…no pulling back.

I speak with others and quite often, the conversation is the same, ‘I know it kills you to see him this way.’

I suppose that’s true – in a way. I wouldn’t wish this current circumstance on him, but on the other hand, I certainly wouldn’t let it keep me away. If the only options are to see him ‘this way’ or not to see him, well, there’s hardly any room for indecision.

If age and disease persist in taking bits of him, then surely, they must love him as I do.

To be truly blessed in the loving, we must find the blessing in every part of letting go, for it is in that place (of grace) that we build what will be left for clinging to later on. Sorrow is a divine inheritance – the same as joys we could not bear part from.

The wrens clamor for the darkest of the seeds, while songbirds wait patiently their favorites. Redbud boughs bend as hymns waft through nearly silent halls – where blessings are whispered without regard for the taking.

of ways
I still remember
how it was
to hold you near
though time has passed
and left no scar
at all
winds are blowing
how I love
the song they hesitate
names I spoke aloud
I speak again
leave to me
the everything –
of all I’ve known to love
let the years
forget not long –
the path
we came
for getting on

. . .