In the morning, when the first rays kissed the dew, the earth revived, the air filled with angelic harmony and aspiration. I inhale the fresh morning melody of the calm Californian weather, when all nature seemed melancholic and soothing. The beautiful daybreak is interrupted by arduous memories. Not those, which when evoked I reminisce by gazing at. No, not the memories I think over with recollections to return to, hoping to find answers to some important questions. A commemoration; the type that is rolled in a warm and soft swell, gently moving its “coastal stones” of the soul and strumming them with their surprisingly close and dear to the heart tunes.
I remember the shadows of wet snow flakes were dipping, kissing the cheeks with their cold sentiments transforming everything around to the affairs at hand. As I inhale the unforgiving wind, silent fatigue dawns on me. It’s like I was standing by the wall as it crumpled behind and added a load to my already drooping shoulders. The carousel of wet snow was melting, and the winter cold penetrated my chest, dragging me deeper in to the sky… the explanation of the wind ensues freedom, but the chest felt burden.
Emotive and stirring was the last leave-taking… Finally, the dear burden again raised and slowly lowered in to the ground. The coffin was lowered by a dreadful machine with a high pitch sound penetrating in to the minds and hearts of relatives, friends and close acquaintances of the deceased. Each left with a memory of a pale, beautiful face of our dear and beloved Grandmother, Mother, friend, mentor and an angel. She looked peaceful and content; unusual for a somber ceremony.
In the spring, when the leaves begin to dissolve their trees… sidewalks and yards “sliver” with sticky poplar “flakes”… the watering machines, not sparing the water and zealously brushing- following its name and purpose watered the streets… the air was spreading such a magical fragrance! I still remember the smell of happiness, purity, blue sky, oh what a warm and caressing sun, young greens, smiling windows of houses, a few beeps of machines, romping clanging trams, melodic sound of heels on the pavement, children’s dreams and aspirations, anticipation of summer…
A sudden whiff of fried fish and pies with potato and meat filling draw me towards her kitchen, as I run by the walnut tree the green water tap draws me to it. As I drink the cool water, it saturates me with fresh but metallic taste. I hear my name and I run towards her, towards the sun in her eyes and the warmth of her laughter. She touches my face and love pours out from her contact.
I live because of her love. She disclosed to me, that on more than one night while I was in Iraq- she woke up and started walking and talking to me. She was directing me to fight on for my life in Jesus name. She then would tell God to place guard over my unit and protect all the boys who were fighting with me. I am aware that during the same nights I have been miraculously saved from death; whereas my comrades themselves could not understand how they survived such an atrocious destruction. My Platoon is the only Platoon, which did not have casualties, while the rest of my company carried casualties of wounded and dead.
She would reveal many examples of her sleepless nights, and her knees had calluses to prove it. Over the phone I was told by her; she would not pass on while I was overseas, but upon my return she would retire from this life. Unfortunately I have taken that comment lightly, and now I lament the times I could have spent with her after my return to the real world.
She succumbed to cancer, after grueling chemotherapy. As she lay on her death bed, even in the stupor of disillusion, she continued to worship God, and praise him for answering her prayers. She continued to pray for us, left on this earth; the smell of medicine, alcohol, and sweet aroma of a departing prayer warrior. I felt her pass even though I was not at her side. I felt silent fatigue. The heavy wall crumpled behind me and added a load to my shoulders. I felt her freedom, and our loss. I am left alone by the angel whose devotion stayed to my salvation, most importantly – a deep sense of calm security, peace and prosperity. The leisureliness which I had at her side is no longer available.
As I summon up her journey, the joy received from fond memories is overwhelming at times while it empowers and energizes. I appreciate the lessons she taught me with her life. No matter the adversity, difficulty or destitution in life; patience, love and prayer are the answers and as she loved us we are to love others. As she blessed us, we are to bless others. I no longer mourn the angel who left us for her heavenly abode. Rather, I am thankful to God that she has lived and cared for us gifting us with heavenly tenderness and teaching us devotion to humanity and each other.