Palm Sunday's triumphant parade has come and gone. The resounding "Hosannas" have already receded. The trumpet fanfare has sailed over the last hillside, leaving a stillness in it's wake. We know what awaits the faithful in this journey thru Holy Week. We must go thru the darkness of Good Friday before the lilies amass, their cascading fragrances filling sanctuaries near and far.... and the brass choir returns with butterflies-a-flitter, amidst girlie bonnets with streaming ribbons. So this is a time of fore-shadowed knowing & anticipation.
Today as my mind attempted returning to this world, I started the day as I have for many, many months now. I said prayers of support for our Wilson-family and especially for my dear friend, their matriarch, known to so many as "Saint." I surmised that it was pre-dawn from the paper thin slices of light beckoning thru the Orlando Radisson's thick curtains, doing their striped best to keep us shrouded in darkness. I can't explain it in words, but this morning as I prayed my final petition for Pat, my heart was filled with a sense of peace-beyond-my-knowing, beyond-my-understanding. And I rolled over and fell into a blissfully contended sleep.
Was it minutes or hours later, when I awakened completely rested? I knew in my heart what had transpired. I merely reached for my Blackberry to confirm thru a Facebook message what I already had guessed. There was the confirmation of what I knew in my heart:
"My beautiful wife passed away about an hour ago. May the angels lead her into Paradise."
It was a week ago today that we had our last lengthy phone-call, the last time when I could read her posts from her well-wishers, her supporters, her friends. It was six days ago when I last heard her voice on this planet. This afternoon I went back thru old saved phone messages to listen to her sing 'happy birthday' to me, from this last year & the year before that. I'll always save the message that starts, "It's me." She was so happy. She was so proud. She was so alive.
We had the opportunity to say 'good-by' to say 'I love you' and to say 'thank-you' to each other. I think even at the time, we both knew it would be our telephone swan-song. She touched so many. She called sisters-in-need across this country as well as the Canadians on her phone plan. She encouraged. She listened. She laughed. She cried. She celebrated. She was one-of-a-kind.
I suppose it's selfish for me to think that God allowed her an "encore chapter" in order for her to be my rock and support me thru my own second diagnosis, surgery & recovery, but till my last breath, I will believe that with my whole heart. She was just stubborn enough to hang-in there, despite all her doctors prognostications, to keep me company these last couple of months, to cajole me, to mother-hen me, to retort me, and to inspire me. On more than one occasion, she told me she thought I was brave. The amazing thing is that she actually meant it.
She was fierce and she was brave. She was amazing.
I have received encouragement to write a book about "Saint & Faith"...... the idea seemed ludicrous to Saint, when I told her. She laughed heartily saying, "who would ever want to read such a thing as that???" I couldn't convince her that it was a story worth telling. She used her notorious honesty telling me what a crazy idea it was. "We're just two people sharing a story." I'd reply, "I think the story deserves a larger audience."
Today it seems like a genuine calling, to share what I know of this brilliant woman and how I came to love her. Can you hear her laughing, all the way from heaven?