Idyllic. That is the word to describe today. Late June, and the thermometer is reading 75 at midday--too hot to weed in the sun drenched front yard, but cool enough to enjoy a glass of iced tea on the back deck. The breeze, gentle and fragrant with the smell of salty freshness as it wafts in from the sound, is just cool enough to be refreshing and just strong enough to blow papers from the to do pile on my desk. This weather is more welcome than the flowers in May, as my Aunt Nancy says, following weeks of weather earlier this month that were the coldest on record since 1898.
My husband's aunt passed away suddenly this weekend, and he is on his way to the memorial in Alaska. I am weepy on this idyllic June day. We have just returned from my cousin's wedding in Idaho--two family gatherings on top of each other: one for a celebration of love and a beginning of life together; the other to celebrate a life well-lived and mourn her loss. There was an extra layer of gratitude at the wedding gathering that we had all come together for the celebration, as folks are getting older, and we know there will be memorials ahead.
What I remember about Barb is her laughter, her authenticity, and her commitment to family. She loved to laugh and tell stories of family adventures and travels. I don't think I ever saw her when she wasn't enjoying herself. Even as she aged, she joked about the aches that come with growing older, and she made sure she spent time with those she loved and cherished: her siblings, her children, and her grandchildren. I cannot say I knew her well; however, I feel her loss tenderly, as if a piece of what has defined us as a family has drifted ahead on the fresh breeze.
I drive my son down to the beach to go skin-boarding with his friends. We enter the park, high up on a bluff, and begin the windy descent to the shore. The speed limit sign says 15 miles an hour. He reminds me to go slowly or I might get a ticket, like the mom of his friend did last week. Even though he has told me to slow down, he is impatient to reach the water and tells me so. I remark that it is funny how, when we are young, we often want things to go faster, and when we get older, we want them to slow down. He says, "Do you ever feel like it's just right?" I marvel at his wisdom, and say, "I'm working on it, babe. I'm working on it."