Saturday, July 30, 2011
The dear soul in this piece has left us now along along with others. We were at the church standing in line at a funeral service. I was whispering to a friend when she touched my arm and spoke softly, “Could you please finish signing my name for me? I just can’t seem to do it today.”
I gazed into her shining eyes so full of pain and fatigue as my own quickly misted. She wore a scarf on her head in the fashion of a gypsy. She’s in her winter years and struggling with chemo. I put my arm around her and leaned in closer. “You know I can … I love you.” I assured her.
She moved softly into the chapel as I looked where she had left off in the registry. The first letter was legible; after were two feeble attempts to form the second. I felt somehow blessed as I finished writing her name.
Sunday she was sitting on the half pew that rests against the back wall of the sanctuary. I thought "she has changed her usual seat in case she becomes sick and needs to exit quickly."
I crossed the aisle, took her hand and kissed it in the old way of gentlemen. I held on for a moment as I drank those dark eyes so full of memory.
She wore a wide brim crimson hat that shaded her face. Her matching lipstick was striking as she smiled weakly up at me. She was stunning in her fragility, as we stood connected somehow in that hallowed space.
It came to me later that I would like to ask if I could see a picture of her from when she was a young woman. I’ve decided not to though. I’ll simply treasure this haunting beauty, kindness and strength that I've stumbled upon. I shall forever see in my mind’s eye her quiet and determined struggle to comfort the bereaved on the white page of that funeral service registry. I shall forever see her move quietly into the soft glow of the chapel's morning light.