That date engraved in granite, forever branded as sacred. Silent recollection of the excruciating, raw reality we faced six years ago as she took her last breath. Remembering how we cradled her sweet body the whole night through. And then how the sun had the audacity to rise through the hospital window that morning. Nora. Sweet, sweet Nora. What an absolute gift she was – on loan for only a short time. She sure made good use of her time here, beckoning multitudes to see the world in a better, kinder way. Incompatible with life. “Pfffff!!! I’ll show dem!!!” she exclaimed, “Don’t try n’ slap dat label on me!”
My heart it aches. My empty arms yearn to cradle the sweetest 26 lbs that ever were. Even so, today outwardly looked just like any other day. I’m not a big planner or coordinator. And REALLY – – what are you “supposed” to do on days such as these anyway. Sitting around being sad seemed counterproductive, so I did do something in Nora’s memory to bless someone else, as suggested by a friend. I put together a new back pack full of essential items – socks, t-shirts, a hat, a toothbrush & toothpaste, snack bars, protein drinks, water, food items and a nice wallet with some cash in it. I headed down to 13th and Main, amidst the boarded up storefronts, and sat there in my car until I saw Mike making his way toward me. Mike is a homeless African American man we met while talking and wrapping things up out in Old St. Mary’s church parking lot. I told him yesterday that I didn’t have any cash on me (which was true), but I told him I’d be back tomorrow with something for him (which probably sounded like another empty promise). But I came back, as I promised him I would and I blessed him. We talked for awhile. He told me about his time in prison serving a 3 year sentence. He told me how his mom died recently and how sad he is. She was all he had. “I know the pain of grief, my friend, and I’m sorry.” It was a meaningful exchange. I hope I made some sort of difference for him, even if just for today. I know I can’t single-handedly make everything “all better” with one random act of kindness, but at least it was SOMETHING that demonstrated love. Love. That’s what Nora was all about. She gave and received inordinate, copious amounts of love, and THAT IS WHAT MATTERS. LOVE.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)
(As stated on Nora’s headstone)