I remember a hot and sticky June afternoon being 11 years old. An aunt called asking us to come to the hospital; she was about to go. My parents driving fast down the highway to get there; and somehow I wasn’t scared.
Breaking through the lobby doors with a black flowered purse hitting my side. Rushing up elevators we made it to her room. Francis lying in the bed dying. I could not tell you what was said, who was mad, or crying. I can not tell you how long that visit lasted.
I can tell you there was a balcony and somehow I was on it. Looking into her room through a huge glass window as my Paw Paw knelt by the bed, held her chemo-ridden hand and cried. And then she was gone.
Soon after that, I was excited to go to camp.
Now I do not begrudge my 11 year old self for being happy about camp–that would not be fair to that little girl now aged into this woman. I do miss her more now, than I did then.
In high school I made choices that were less than stellar and continued to make poor choices even after high school. I do know that if Francis had lived I would not have been allowed me to make those choices; so I missed her authority and her wisdom.
I know I missed her on my wedding day. I invited my Paw Paw and no one was thrilled about it not even myself; but it was my wedding and I stand by my judgement. But I wish Francis could have been his date instead.
I go to her grave in a tiny town of Ovilla….never prepared with flowers. It makes me smile, they still raise goats across the fence. Goats that fascinated me years ago, entertain my children as I say hi. (Not sure what I am saying hi to; but I say it.)
I go by her yellow house I hope to one day own. A really silly dream; it is condemned, she was the last woman to live there…..but I still love it. So much that I stole the ‘Beware of Dog’ sign from it just to have something from it.
But Francis isn’t in the grave and she isn’t in that yellow house and so we drive on back to the place where we are from and I again get excited about something else in life.
I can’t live in the state of missing. That’s why it is called missing. It is not found. I can not find her. So I try to live. Enjoy. Talk. Be in the moments. Be generous. Francis would want that.
If your dealing with loss, a state I find myself ever so often; don’t try to beat it and don’t drown in it. It comes like the waves. At first hurricanes. Tropical storms. Showers. Dust bowls. Quiet and loud. Sometimes you know you will be a wreck and other times you smell a scent at the store and you just turn into a puddle on accident.
Know that it turns into a scar and you will wear it proudly one day. You may find yourself saying hi to a body and not a person; just do it…there is worse ways to say good-byes.
For Francis Foster: my grandmall—I love and miss you still. And to all the other people I have loved that have died as well. You were not overlooked in my heart while writing this. ❤