A good friend of mine, who I only see every three or four years because she lives in Cairo, is in town to see her mother through the final stages of terminal cancer. The last time I saw her and her mother was Thanksgiving two years ago when I'd recently lost my father. Over the past six weeks, I've had close to casual acquaintances and relatives lose spouses, parents and children. That, of course, becomes a reality at a certain age. It reminds me to take stock of likely losses and blessings in my own life. I know there will be more, but not in the immediate future I hope, seeming to have lost all that could be lost in the past five years. Sometimes it feels like a clean slate, and for the first time in years I feel that I can be of support and instead of the one needing support but retreating from it.
I thought of five years ago, the last time I saw my mother before she was gone a few weeks later. As I heard about others losses, that so typically come at the very end and beginning of the year, I didn't feel contentment in knowing that it was not my own loss but a certain relief in knowing you can lose a parent only once but sustain the loss forever.
On a day like today -- when the weather was gloriously perfect -- it was hard to think that anyone was in pain or experiencing loss, but a quick scan of headlines or e-mail quickly shatter that reality. Having a couple of walks with Bow in the sun, neither of us needing a jacket, it was a pleasure to be removed from that reality, even knowing that a glorious day like today is an omen of drought, heat and water rationing in the months ahead. But it was pleasant for that moment.