The kind you go to when you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re doing anymore. And she doesn’t. She won’t know when she opens her eyes this morning that it will be the last time she’ll cast them on the sunlight streaming through her bedroom window.
Dawn is just about to break, the sky is streaked with pink and blue, and a light frost coats the trees and fallen leaves all around the house. She didn’t know yesterday it would be the last time she would enjoy breakfast in her kitchen, clean her counter tops, or stare into the crackling flames in her fireplace. Soon these small joys will belong to someone else, someone who may never know how much each of them once meant to Patti.
She doesn’t know she won’t dance in the goldenrod in her field again, or swim naked with me in the lake or walk in the winter wonderland behind her house a Christmas. Somehow the fact that she doesn’t know seems to make her imminent (within hours now) departure more tragic. But none of us know when we’re going to leave the life we’re living. We may be snatched away at any moment, with no inkling the breath before was to be our last. It can happen at nine months, nine seasons or ninety-nine years.
To coin and combine two old cliches: that ignorance is bliss may be a blessing in disguise. Unlike me, who has cried a million tears, Pinkie Patti hasn’t spent the last minutes, hours, days and weeks mourning the loss of her life as she knows it. She has lived it.
And she hasn’t worried about saying goodbye to all that is familiar to her, including her beloved cat Pia Roma. I wonder how Pinkie Patti will be in her new home. Mercifully, and ironically, because of her Alzheimer’s she will forget this one before long.
She will forget all the joys and sorrows with which she (and we) infused its three-bricks-thick walls. But life will still live here; it will be re-awakened by others at some future time. And Pinkie Patti will create new joys, sorrows and life in her new place before one day saying goodbye to this life and leaving for her final destination.
As for moving on, there’s comfort in knowing that, in the end, no matter how far and wide we travel, and for how long, all roads eventually take us home.
And in that sense, every day is moving day.
November 16, 2012.
I marked the second anniversary with this post: the day our best wasn’t good enough.
And the third anniversary with this one: joys and tears these last three years.