She called. I answered with definitive speed. Something important on the line. Leave the table at the bar with your friends. Go to the other side of the patio. Sit facing the wooden fence. Yes? What happened?
After she told me the whole story we ended up deciding the definition of courage: Undressing in plain sight. Not hiding. Truth, unravelling you. Letting it.
The husband gave a gorgeous eulogy. We're all going to go, and none of us know when. So take a moment now to think about your maybe-one-day decade-long dreams. Write your music. You do not know when it will be you.
The oldest of their children was not too young to understand that her mother had gone. The younger two would still need time to grasp their loss in words. Everyone felt like a page of their favorite composition had been ripped out and burned.
The wife was a composer. A teacher. A healer.
Who would play those pages? Know how?
On maternity leave with her third child, she decided that she wanted to be a mother, simply. Nothing more needed. Soon after, her diagnosis. Being a mother in a time like this was anything but simple, he said.
So much is irreplaceable.
I imagine a room full of rib cages creaking open, the glow from their weepy hearts whirling into love with each other. Like falling on the couch at the end of a hellish day. Like dad taking off your cleats and shin-gaurds, sweaty socks, after soccer practice.
We lose our mothers. Everything, eventually.
I wonder what to do in between our losses and the loss of us. When the comfort of comfort feels as far as rain in the desert.
In the morning I walk upstairs after a night of wobbling half-naked in the truth. My memory full of foolish courage, embarrassment, some strange version of love. She woke me with a song read straight from my dreams. Her rib cage creaked open with light. She held me as I sobbed. Her face, like the first breath on the first day of fall.