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Two deaths. One the wife of friend; the other the mother of a friend no longer. The first was a sound shake. A woman who was ill and being treated, who was expected to survive, to be healed. An unexpected death even though there was probably some scientific percentage that she would not survive. Like David. Twenty percent of those with heart transplant don’t survive. And we never considered for a moment that to be David.

We are all always part of the percentage.

Two children. One who is of an age to desperately need her mother. Like Julia and her Daddy. The other . . . but doesn’t everyone desperately need their mother? My first thought, why does my friend have to go through this? It is and will be hell. For a long time. Couldn’t my hell be the placeholder for all hells? Couldn’t happy couples grow old together?

Of course not. No. The tighter I grip what was/is/must be, the more impermanence leaks out, squeezed until it is a torrent. I love the spring cycle of crocus, narcissus, red buds, tulips, lilacs and peoney. I know we are the same. I know it. Our cycle does not differ from that of the flora and fauna. But to be at peace with that oneness is a heavy task.

The second death, mother of a once friend, an acknowledging swallow. Yes, this is what is. For years I knew everything, well, many things. We were present for careers and changes to life paths, partners and children, pasts and promised futures. I assumed without question that I would be there, anywhere, for her mother’s memorial. I would be included as part of her family as she was included in mine. And no matter how sad I can be that my assumptions are no longer my experience, this present simply is what is.

Even love that is not ripped apart by the finality of death is not permanent. I have cultivated a few circles of delphiniums in my garden beds. Two are not showing any signs of growing althought I treated them with as much care as the one that is thriving. I hope they are late, I hope they are not lost. They may show themselves next week or never.

I don’t believe in a micromanaging deity charting my higher education, spooning out the lessons I am ready to grasp. I do believe in making experience the lesson. In the greater life university, I major in resilience.