Soaking in a hot epsom salt bath this morning to try to loosen up the stiffness in my joints. Warm water and effortless movement might be the key to the Universe. It occurs to me I am filled with gratitude that “rest” is finally a more prominent component in caring for myself. Last year, and many years before that, I would be setting my aching body in a drafty, noisy truck for the better part of daylight. I wonder how I did it ? And then I remember. It happened like everything happens. One inhale, one exhale, one step at a time. I just did what was in front of me
I learned a few days ago about the passing of a friend. I never met Fran, yet through fate and serendipity our paths crossed. We knew of one another only here in the ether and yet, even in this often vacuous place, I felt a kinship.
When she shared her cancer diagnosis, she stepped into the awkward place of trying to share the path forward. I marveled at her ability to make it a shared journey, full of joy and heartbreak and, finally, surrender. She shared in a private blog about how the disease and treatments took her through a dizzying rush of feeling. Better. Worse. Hopeful. Discouraged. It never felt instructive. Nor did it ever feel disingenuous. It was real life, her real life, swaddled in story. And though the ending came too soon, it was beautiful.
Poignant. It was Fran.
When I woke early this morning I remembered her. I remembered the lovely message her son is sharing on her Caring Bridge page. He, too, is sharing a story. His is a story of what it means to remain when a light has dimmed and the way forward is unclear.
This beautiful family is leaving such gifts. Her son is discovering that Fran left a map. It goes peacefully and purposefully through the garden she loved so much. He found himself there, his hands in the dirt, thinking What Would Fran Do ?
It is Giving Tuesday. It’s the kind of made-up “holiday” that I can embrace. I read as Fran’s son wrote of Chief Joseph pine and Hinoki and the endless life of this garden. He wrote about how much she loved this place and a way to honor her memory would be through planting something outrageous, thoughtful, different and surprising in your own yard.
A tree. For Fran.
In these chilled fall and winter months there is a depth to the sadness. Planting a tree could get our hands in the earth, below the sadness and plant something that will elevate it to the next natural feeling. Maybe it is remembering Fran. Maybe it is remembering my own losses. Whatever comes next, I don’t need to go looking for. It is right here. My life and all of my feelings and questions are all right here in this moment.
I will look for that tree to plant in my yard.
Remembering Fran today. May she rest in peace knowing that what she so generously gave of herself lifted us all closer to the whole.