Saturday, June 05, 2010

The things you can learn on the swing

Santa Barbara.  I love this place.  Somewhere along the way between the thick as wet cotton fog bank in the early morning and the diamond edge clear, still as resting hummingbird wings late afternoon, this particular Saturday was exactly the sort of day I love here.  Not without sadness, mind you.

A member of the family was memorialized today.  Dorothy.  Momoo.  Grandma.  Dot.  Whatever you called her, she lived a strong, long, beautiful life.  96 years.  On her terms.  I wasn't a blood relative.  But I married into the respect and love everyone had for her.  Which I shared.  If you'll permit me, I must tell one quick story.

Maya was the only kid at the memorial, held in the community where Momoo lived the last number of years of her life.  I counted 109 people, but a few might have come or gone around the time of that count.  When the speeches were over, the mingling began.  And it was just as Momoo had requested.  Sometime amidst that activity, Maya made her way to a bench swing with some relatives and family friends.  After a while, people wanted to return to the action.  Not Maya - a bench swing on a nice day is a glorious thing, after all.  Two residents that had attended the ceremony wanted to stay for a turn, Maya wanted to push.  After a while, the three of them returned to the party.  The unbelievably sweet couple then made a point of coming up to me to say that Maya had described in great detail our family - birthdays listed by date, who was how old, that sort of thing.  When she got to the point of mentioning Momoo, she told the couple on the swing that "and then Momoo decided to die" (a very true assessment of the way her long life ended after a short illness).  At which time, Maya began to cry.  The couple described to me how Maya seemed in control, but was nonetheless touched by the emotion of that realization.  The man (Ramon) told me that he then asked Maya if he could cry along with her.  She said he could.  Eventually, they stopped and swung some more.

I don't know how to teach a child about losing a loved one.  Like any other parent, I do not welcome that responsibility.  Yet today, my daughter taught me a great many things.  About grace and innocence.  Beauty and growth.  Loss and love.  I like to think she got more than a bit of that from Dorothy.  And that it will live on.  Have a good weekend from us all here.

1 comment:

Jon Tuttle said...

Eric that's really beautiful.

Sorry to hear of Momoo's passing. Sounds like Maya will carry fond memories of her thru her life which is a blessing.