of Shores and Ships

18 Oct
Twice in my adult life, I have received a message on my phone from my Mother  that went like this, “Everybody is okay, but call me as soon as you can.”
Once I received that same message from my sister.
The first time, my family’s house had burnt to the ground, but my parents and all 8 of my siblings still at home had gotten out safely.  The next time, my sister’s house had burnt to the ground, but she and her 4 month old baby and my 3 little girls whom she had been watching that day all got out safely.  The last time I got that message, a tornado had taken the second story off my parent’s house, but the 9 people who were in it at the time were all okay.
That message on my phone that begins with “everybody is okay” is one that sends my heart racing with fear because I know something scary has happened.
But a message far worse would be a message missing that reassurance, “everybody is okay.”
A sweet relative of mine lost her mother to ovarian cancer 2 weeks ago.  She wrote a very touching blog about her mother and included this thought:
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says,“There, she’s gone.”
Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living weight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her; and just at that moment when someone at my side sighs: “There, she’s gone,” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices to take the glad shout,“There, she’s coming!”
 I am sad for my sweet relative who has lost her closest friend and glad for her mother, who is gone to peace & rest, and many other feelings all at once which I cannot put into words that satisfy me.  Each day that we have is a miracle and a gift.


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