Friday, August 22, 2008
Happy Birthday, My Love
This is a picture that was taken of Lynn on her birthday one year ago today.
Her sister made cupcakes, went to the nursing home and dressed Lynn, loaded her into the car and took her to a tiny park in Tallahassee where that beautiful oak tree lives.
Her mama, her brother, her son, her sister, me, and a couple of my kids gathered to celebrate Lynn's birthday for what we did not know, but suspected, might be her last.
Lynn seemed dreamy, and otherworldly, happy enough to be there, outside and with people she loved, but she was so obviously getting ready to cross that border into another place. The cupcakes confused her, she drifted from here to there and she really only engaged when my daughter started playing her mandolin.
And then Lynn danced.
On Lynn's fortieth birthday, which she celebrated in Houston, Texas where she was living then on a boat, she threw a huge party. I wasn't there, but I heard about it. I know there was rum and plenty of music and the dancing must have gone on all night.
Or almost all night.
That was the night Lynn got pregnant with her only child. The child she had yearned for her entire life.
Birthdays were always special to Lynn. She believed in birthdays and she believed in celebrating them with joy. There was always rum, there was always music, there were always lots and lots and lots of friends to dance with. So her birthday last year was a sort of subdued and pale imitation of all the ones that had come before, but at least there was music and a little bit of dancing and at least there was that oak tree, it's branches so old and spread they touched the ground. That tree seemed to call to Lynn because she kept heading for it and I'm mighty glad her sister got that picture.
Yesterday when I took my youngest shopping for food for her new apartment, we ran into Lynn's mama, which was a surprise because I never go to that Publix and really, what are the odds? She was shopping for storm supplies and also wine and Cheese Nips for the bridge club that was coming to her house today. We chatted about Lynn and how it was just about to be her birthday and how much we missed her and then I gave her a huge big hug and she hugged me back, far more strongly than you could imagine a woman in her eighties could hug. I could see Lynn in her mother and I could feel Lynn in her mother too and I think we were both comforted.
It was nice of the Universe to deliver us to each other so conveniently.
And that's what I'm thinking about today, sitting on my back porch as the rain comes down and the wind picks up as Tropical Storm Fay, a tricky storm if there ever was one (it's already hit Florida in three different places) drifts our way. The trees are rustling their petticoats, dancing with the wind, and I'm writing, dancing with the words, and I'm loving Lynn, wherever she is.
I sort of feel like she's sitting right here with me, and I like that. It's a peaceful feeling.
I see her smile, I see her twitch her skirt, I see her close her eyes so that she can listen to the music of the wind better. I think about the day I took her to Lake Ella for a walk and a sudden breeze sprang up and she closed her eyes and lifted both arm to the sky and swayed with it.
Then she opened her eyes and smiled at me.
I'm opening my eyes and I'm smiling with you.
It's Lynn's birthday.
Let's dance. Whether with the wind or the Beatles or whatever music the universe is supplying to you right now, let's just dance.
Because it would make Lynn smile
And it's her birthday.