Walking the cat in the brilliance of the spring sunshine I note that the branches of the weeping willows look like strings of gold beads, the buds on the mock cherry trees have burst open to reveal what looks like tight clusters of infinitely small green grapes. Over the next month these will swell and evolve into fragrant white blossoms.
Cat is interested in rolling in the grass and lying in the sun. I stand and watch a red tailed hawk spiral in the current rising off the clay banks.
A lovely day.
I hope that it's as beautiful 2500 miles or so to the south, where at this moment, a funeral is being held for my sister-in-law June.
June entered my life as she entered my brother's, when I was five or six years old. She was small, with dark blond hair and an air of neatness and precision about her. She was the first person in the family to realize that I was no longer a child, and treat me as an adult. She and I became really good friends. We had many interests in common, genealogy, quilting, good food, but it was more than common interests that bound us together. We just clicked. I was the sister she never had.
June passed away Friday. It was not unexpected, and death came as a mercy. She had Alzheimer's and June the person had been gone from June the body for years. But her loss, even the loss of the tiny, fragile, immaculately-cared-for but unconscious body hurts.
I have her letters, her recipe for German chocolate cake, the sock monkey she made me the year I turned six, and a long, long memory. I have a June-sized, and shaped, hole in my heart. Bye June-bug. I miss you.