This weekend, one of Peter's cousins in New England is getting married. We'd hoped to make the wedding, but decided that the late ceremony/reception combo would be too much for the kids and opted to send a card, with the hopes that we'd see the family soon.
My grandmother is taking my nephew to Florida to see my aunt. Initially, my mom was going to drive them there and back, but two of my great-aunts (my grandmother's sisters) wanted to go, so it was decided that they would go instead and my mom would do the drive home, giving my mom and unexpected 4 day weekend this weekend.
It's strange how things work out.
Monday, a woman I worked with fifteen years ago and had become friends with, was mothering her six children and loving her husband; Tuesday, she was gone, taken away by one of the bane's of existence that modern medicine has yet to erradicate: cancer. A smile, taken from the world. The sound of her laughter- which was infectious- silenced, replaced by the weeping of those who love and miss her.
When I'd first left Nashville, she and I had kept up, but as time had gone on, we lost touch. We'd see each other here and there when I'd visit, but life got in the way. It happens. You get busy, life moves on, and before you know it... it's over.
When my former boss and another former coworker emailed me with the news, I was shocked. At first, I didnt believe it. But a quick Google search confirmed their words. In spite of having not seen her in years, her laughter railed through my head and I found myself doubled over at my desk, in sobs. Gut-wrenching sobs.
It could be any of us.
It could be me. A mom, a wife... loving life, suddenly falling ill, and less than a year later, dying. The thought of leaving my children motherless, my husband a widower and raising them without me by his side. Even now, the words hit me so hard that I cant breathe.
I spent yesterday making travel arrangements. My in-laws were life savers and are watching the kids tomorrow while Peter is at work, while Sarah is more than I could ask for in a friend- a sister, really- agreeing to spend the night tonight and drive me to the airport at 4am tomorrow and then pick me up Saturday at 11pm, when I get back. My mom is picking me up when I arrive in Nashville, and I'm staying with my parents. The ability to make the funeral is only made possible because our travel plans fell through, on both counts.
Crazy how that works.
There's a part of me that has to smile. For D, family was so important. I can only imagine that she'd get a kick out of knowing that, in order to my my respects to her family, I'm getting an unexpected visit with mine. She'd like that I think. She'd laugh about it with her hearty, full-bodied laugh, and toss her head back, her short hair staying easily in place, and the smile would reach her eyes.
I hate flying; it's a fear deeply rooted in both the lack of control I have in the manner of transport but also in the uncertainty of living in the word. The only thing I hate more is leaving my family. I've told the kids that I'm leaving, and that I'll be gone for a few days. We went to the movies this morning, then to a playground before lunch and nap. A fun time. During cuddles, when I explained again that I wont be here when they wake up, Maya nodded sagely, repeating the words that I say to them whenever I leave for a run. "It's okay. Mamas always come back."
God, please, please dont make a liar out of me to my children. Please, please, let mothers always, always come back.