PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Saturday, January 28, 2006

He Kindly Stopped For Me.

I stood outside on the screened-in porch and felt the unseasonable warm air gust around me. I thought of all the women who had gone before me, who had done the same things we were doing tonight. My friend's mother had died. We came together to clean our friend's home, because the inevitable parade of visitors had already begun that night, when I arrived. She had spent the last two weeks in the hospital by her bedside, so she asked for that help, despite how clean it really was. The direct link between death & food was already apparent, as her refrigerator was overflowing. I laughed at myself, because I had also brought an assortment of chips, cookies, crackers, chocolate, juice boxes. My girlfriends brought food, flowers, and buckets of cleaning supplies.

For two hours we scrubbed & swept & vacuumed. Intermittently, one of us would stop and talk to our friend as she moved among us, hug her, listen, and look into her eyes, reminded that someday, this will be ourselves. Her daughter, still so young, was delighted by the company. She rocketed among us, talking, laughing & giving us orders. I picked her up and squeezed her and told her in a year, she was going to be taller than me, and that pretty soon, I was going to get shorter, and she'd be even taller. She informed me I was going to teach her to knit a poodle, that night. (I finessed my way out of that one.)

I thought of my great-grandmother, Hattie, as I took a break on that porch last night, and how she was born before she had the right to vote, how her life was filled with hard labor as a farmer's wife, how she never saw the internet, wouldn't know what to make of an iPod. And how she probably did this exact same thing for her friends in her own lifetime, coming together, quiet strength and ordinary work - showing love in the face of great sadness.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:35 AM