Have you ever begun a journey, intent on one destination, only to find you’ve been detoured to another? Such was my journey to Massachusetts last week. Yes, I’m here — physically, looking about in wonder at death's fiery brilliance; colorful trees canopy the city's narrow streets like leafy umbrellas splattered by nature's palette, and I can't help but wonder if the leaves know that they’re dying.
I came here with a purpose in mind — a sole purpose. How foolish of me to imagine that I could predict my purpose. For one thing is often a cover for another — the bait and switch. And here I am now, sitting stunned, and softened like a slice of clay that has been kneaded into a supple clump.
The shock of it all is still with me. I can’t seem to move past it. My cousin Jimmy is gone. I try to conjure his face, his being, that curly hair, distinct voice, eyes that painted the world with grace and humor.
The first paragraph of my last blog haunts me: “I’m heading up to MA for a spell. I have a vital mission—a delicate assignment appointed to me by the angels and I’m certain that all of heaven will be watching and cheering. And that’s how it should be—packed stands of roaring fans, cheering on brave souls with holes in their shoes.”
This photo causes my breath to hitch…
This is where Jimmy worked for the last 26 years.
And who would have known that I was coming to say goodbye one day after his birthday, and to recite his eulogy to a crowd of stunned fans.
I’m drunk on a confusing cocktail of loss and grace. The grace is as thick as honey, reflecting light from afar…perhaps a place where newly departed souls go to catch their breath. But then that muddy wave of loss hits, washing over everything, coloring the world in gray.
I should have known that his soft heart would betray him, for it was too weak to carry him into his golden years where silver–haired sages gather to share costly secrets. He took a shorter route, heading up rather than across, and now he knows what all those white heads don’t know—what we ponder as we pound the pavement. He knows it all, and somehow this knowledge comforts me.
It is just enough to keep me from despair.