fading anemones

It’s Friday, late afternoon.  People expect a blizzard to the south but we expect a mere dusting. But the steel-gray sky threatens. It’s cold.  I made a thick white bean soup for lunch with fresh thyme and parsley I dug up from under the snow outside the kitchen door at St. Aidan’s. Birthday flowers freshen the air. I’m enjoying the most romantic three anemones in a little vase on my desk on this cold dark afternoon. 

Across the street the last cars leave the school parking lot for the weekend.

Yesterday, home-room teachers and staff came to chapel and announced the sudden death of one of the school parents – a beloved member of the school community and a teacher at a school in Danbury.  The older girls especially, finally gave way to their shock, sobbing. They’d already heard the news but felt they had to hold it together for the other children, so not to cause worry to them before the general announcement. So now they let go and cried.  A teacher brought a half-dozen boxes of kleenex into the chapel. The girls at once broke into smiles and laughed thankfully at the kleenex. That moment to me was like a sacrament. Their laughter sang with genuine warmth, feeling, and dignity through the mix of emotions.  

My best friend’s father died when we were the same age of the Melrose girls.  I remember my shock. I remember my grief. I remember helplessness that I couldn’t be in the skin of my friend to feel her own pain.  I remember how isolating that felt.  I remember writing in my diary that “my second father” had died. My own father found him, bringing the morning paper into his hospital room. I only found out this year from Jane that my father left work at the hospital that morning and came home to tell the young widow himself.  Jane’s mother was pregnant with her fourth child. I remember crossing out the sentence about “my second father” because it was too pretentious. Jane’s Dad wasn’t really my second father. But I was looking for a way to describe how closely his death touched me.  And that it could have been my father.  Or me. 

I’m praying for the son of a friend. The boy’s in life-threatening trouble. I’m praying for a toddler recovering from bone surgery. I’m praying for a young man with Crone’s disease. I’m praying for a young girl with both lupus and scleroderma.  My intercession list is long and heavy these days. So much death, disease. So much suffering. So many people.  And then there’s Haiti.  And Congo. And our wars.  

But there’s fresh thyme and perfect parsley under the snow. And three romantic, colorful anemones on my desk. Every moment, so fleeting.  Memories fade. And the scent of flowers. So, look. Look at them again. Smell them now. Smell them again.

 Some moments are so simple.

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2 Responses to “fading anemones”

  1. Su Murdock Says:

    I am so sorry for all of that loss and sadness, and grateful that you open yourself up to the pain of those around you. Thank you. And you are right, in the midst of all of this there are these small gifts…thyme, parsley, soup, tissues, and the presence of those around us.
    Keep enjoying the birthday flowers!

  2. Pilar Londono-Kent Says:

    I loved reading “fading anemones” and found touching that in the midst of such strong emotions caused by dead, illness, etc, there are so simple and beautiful blessings of life in the flavor of a white bean soup, fresh green parsley, thyme and the three fresh anemones to recreate the senses and the joy of life!

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