A few weeks ago, the Madre de Jake sent me The Saddest, Gladdest Picture– an image she took of Aunt Lauri‘s cats Georgie and Piper curled up on her wheelchair the night she died.
They stayed curled up right across from her the whole time. The people who fostered the cats before they went to the Cancer Society Shelter in Pacific Grove, where Lauri adopted them, drove all the way from PG to Auburn to pick them up. They were then adopted by a woman, Lauri’s age who lives alone and is a retired teacher in the Salinas Valley near Pacific Grove. She had requested a pair of bonded indoor kitties to adopt. Do you have chills yet?
There really is so much to be thankful for– friends and family for whom my love is actively bursting forth, tree-lined roads, the sun soaking storefront windows, sweaters and scarves, long bike rides along water and lights and buildings, the knowledge that we are all really, truly together. Two of my friends had ampersands tattooed on their wrists a few years ago– a sign, no doubt, that they are and will continue to be in a pleasant and safe and faithful and funny kind of wonderful love. However, I remember them saying that it’s also a reminder of a more broad sense of “and”, that there will always be someone or something else, that you are not by yourself.
Every year I find more &s, every year I & someone else. Our &s can be physically lost, but it seems that our hearts and minds grow larger to accomodate their memory, and to make space for the new &s– friends who send kind letters from buses, babies who learn to speak and proclaim “ohboyohboyohboyohboy”, mustachioed gentlemen who find love in the form of spunky urban gardeners, families who assemble as wholly as possible.
Every year we are greater in number, there is room for us all here.