The sun is warm and the breeze light. I call my sister to wish her happy birthday, and send my regrets at having to work instead of visiting with her. We talk for a few minutes and then she pauses...
"Um...do you check your email regularly?"
"Somewhat, why? Should I? Is it about brunch tomorrow?"
"No, um...maybe-don't check it today, okay? Don't check it until tomorrow." She says finally. As if she could leave it at that. I press her, at leaset tell me everyone is okay-it's nothing bad is it? She tells me she'll call me right back. When she does, she asks me if I'm sitting down. Hateful question. Then she asks me if there is anyone around who I can talk to. Just tell, me, okay? Just tell me
She tells me about the accident
, our friend and her daughter, a long aniticipated road trip.
"Linda didn't make it. I'm so sorry to tell you this way. She didn't make it" My sister's voice cracks. I no longer have control of my own.
What makes something a tragedy? Not the event, not really. It's the fact that you expected to see her Saturday, and won't. It's that conversation you never quite finished. It's the last time you were supposed to see her and didn't. Because you were feeling lazy and didn't want to go out. It's the book she will never finish writing. It's her glowing at a love affair, finally going so well after so many dead-end relationships. It's a daughter who will never forget she was at the wheel. It's an end without goodbyes.
Somebody got the stages of grief wrong. It's starts with
torrents of tears. They yield to irrational anger, nothing at which to direct it, makes you want to jump out of your skin. Then a helplessness, nothing I can do, nothing I can do.
Nothing left to do but walk, don't think just walk. I climbed a mountain. Well, hill by California standards. At the top, an incredible view. A large dog came running up the trail, it nuzzled me and stopped. Turning around, it stood next to me, facing the direction I faced. Just standing there. I must have come back to myself at this point. Walking to the edge of the hill I did the one thing I could do. I offered her my love, and sent her my prayers.
Om. Purnamadah. Purnamidam
Om. Shanti shanti shantihi.
Rest in peace, Linda. I love you.