Thursday, February 20, 2014
I shuffled through the rapidly accumulating Indiana snow, head down, buried deep in my overcoat and deeper in my thoughts. Adrift. The night air hung heavy; a thick winter pall, muting all sound and shrouding all sight; a white weight descending, smothering, despite the mortuary's parking lot lights' best efforts to pierce the soft obscurity.
Forgive me, kind reader, this cruel bait and switch, for this post is not about the fish pictured above, impressive though they be. Rather, it is about the young lady in the middle, holding the trophies. Truth be told, she was not a sportswoman - at least not for the years that I knew her - though the piles of photos we've wandered through these past couple of days hold their share of sepia-toned surprises; big bass just the beginning. Who is the girl? That vibrant young thing is my wife's mother, Emmy, who, I am so sad to say, left us this past week.
No obituary, this. No recount of the things she'd accomplished in her lifetime, as if there was room for them all to be listed here. This is no long tribute. Let the papers do that.
Instead, it is a simple thanks. For her smile. For her warmth. For her generosity. And for her gracious acceptance of me, though I turned up in her daughter's life at the most awkward of times. Thank you for so many things, dear Emmaline, but especially for that.
As my wife communicated the passing and simple details to friends and family, she, at one point, texted that her mother had slipped away, only to have a misplaced finger, no doubt assisted by misty eyes, misspell and send that she had skipped away. Mary quickly rectified the error, but its recipient replied that he rather liked the image of Emmy skipping happily once again, on to her next big challenge.
And as I trudged through the parking lot to clear the windshield and warm the cold car after the family visitation, surrounded by the hush of falling snow and heavy hearts, I, too, had to smile as I imagined the lass with the bass skipping away; pirouetting into the endless swirls of white.
Godspeed, dear Emmy. Godspeed.