Says the little red drop on the map of my neighbourhood park. You are here in the unseasonable sun, the snow melting around you and the sky as blue and clear as the dome of heaven can be. You are here and yet someone who unexpectedly hugged you tight two days ago is not. She died suddenly and will never be here again. On Sunday when I went to church to hear the gospel of the Prodigal Son, a woman I knew came to speak to me during coffee hour. She was happy and celebrating the tenth anniversary of her son having been declared cancer free. He is still a young man. She is…was ten years younger than I am now. We talked a little about coping with bringing up a child with health issues. As I was leaving she suddenly hugged me close. There was a tremendous warmth in that unsolicited hug. When I found out that she had died, on Facebook, if you please, I put on my boots and went out to walk in that miraculously beautiful afternoon. I wanted to be sure I was “ here” I slipped as I walked on a patch of ice and my walking poles “ saved” me. I was still here and still upright. A man was clearing a heart shape on a pond. Why? To show his Valentine? The ice held and he didn’t fall in. He was still here. How fragile everything felt.
People called me about Maria when I got home I learned things about her that I never knew. I knew she was sweet natured and kind. I hadn’t really thought about her courage, her endurance in helping her children. I hadn’t been “ here” in her presence the other times that we had just passed the time of day in church. Where is she? Where is the signpost? I’m still here…. for the moment.