It would have been her birthday today.
There was a hush over the house today, almost like the house was aware that one whose laughter used to echo in the rooms is gone now.
I see her recipe cards in our kitchen drawer, and we use her plastic spoon to stir when we make juice. Her picture with the littlest Junior Tribe Member (who, to be clear, is many inches taller than I) hangs in our kitchen. Her presence is never very far away.
But today, it was almost as if she was here.
In many ways, she was. Husband spent the morning at the computer, watching her on old family videos. I could hear her chuckling as she encouraged her young sons to pick up the ball. I could hear him chuckling as she would get so excited about the game she was filming that the camera stopped moving and all that could be seen was blank gym floor.
In proof that the world is small, and more beautiful than we could ever imagine, Husband called me over a couple of times this morning. His sons and mine–what we call two-families-who-are-also-one-family–used to play on the same team. I watched my 7 year old play with his year old. Our 13 year olds were running up and down the court together too.
Teammates then, brothers now.
She, cheering on my sons, then. I could hear her calling their names, rooting for mine.
I cheer on her sons now. I root for hers.
I root for ours.
He enjoyed the videos today–now able to miss the laughter and the good times, as memories of the end months of pain and suffering have dimmed with time. He smiled and laughed as he remembered some of the special moments with me.
Husband went to visit her grave and then came home to make a family favourite for some family and friends: Cheddar carrot soup. I don’t understand this soup myself–but then, I’m not a native Klassen.
I excused myself for the meal. Sometimes we are one family–today was a day to be two.
I went to see the movie about Mr. Rogers this evening, A beautiful day in the neighborhood. I didn’t realize the movie was about a cynical, embittered journalist, angry about losing his mother as a child. The movie was about Lloyd learning to feel his feelings.
The movie was about a healing journey that began when Fred Rogers admired Lloyd’s courage and caring in ways that Lloyd Vogel couldn’t see in himself. Fred liked this journalist just the way he was. That opened Lloyd up to new ways of being with his wife, his child, and his dying father.
One line of the movie stuck out for me this evening, particularly:
It wasn’t an easy day for Husband. But I think it was a good day. He and his kids and some friends could remember all of her goodness, her sense of fun, her creativity and her sense of humor. They could enjoy her with each other.
Because they dared to mention her.
Because they gave themselves the gift of mentioning her.
I think she would be proud of them for that.
I know that I am.
I like them all, just the way they are.