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The Bridge is Love.

“There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love the only survival the only meaning.” -Thornton Wilder

I spoke with a survivor of less than a year this week. She recounted to me how she’d heard 3 songs in a certain order on the radio and had to pull off of the road because she was crying so hard. She knew that her daughter had sent them as a sign.

My mom the butterfly visits her granddaughter’s garden; she even has been known to sit on her hand. Last summer as I opened the garage door to get in my car, “Mom” flew out of the garage, whipped by my ear, circled back across my head, and flew off. She had been so much on my mind.

Love doesn’t end with the death. I believe that it transforms into so many forms. We “hear” them and we “see” them. “They” present themselves in so many ways.

Daughter Jen has a friend in Hospice; I, too, have an acquaintance in Hospice. Both are sleeping more. As a Hospice nurse explained to me years ago, they are preparing for the transition. We can’t and won’t know what that is until we are faced with it. There’s a certain peace that can be seen on their faces.

In my middle desk drawer at work, I have an envelope. Inside, are the coroner and police records of mom’s death. Cause of death was cardiorespiratory arrest as the result of an overdose of butabarbital. She was found in her bed. I was told that she looked as if she were asleep. I have no doubt that Mom wanted to end her pain.

It is my hope that she fell asleep; no pain any more. People have commented on “the wrath of God” or the “sin of suicide with the condemnation to hell.” I believe none of that. It is my belief that a loving God wept as she prepared to die but that he then welcomed her home with loving arms. THIS is what comforts me.

Where is Mom now? She’s at Bardwell School as a ghost. She’s in my garden when I’m sitting at the end of a long day. She’s a butterfly in Jen’s garden. Recently, I arose very early one morning. I was able to sit outside with my cup of coffee and watch the sunrise. She was there. I could feel her.

Mom and I used to love to go to Oak Brook and shop at Marshall Field’s. (Note: While that store name no longer exists and is disguised under the name “Macy’s”, the building itself is still there.)

Recently, my friend Lois and I were at Oak Brook. As I turned the car heading past Macy’s to go to our favorite restaurant, I looked toward the door where we’d enter and exit. Memories came flooding back. Did I see her waving at me? Maybe. I know she’d be so happy to know that my trips to Oak Brook continue.

Love doesn’t end with the death. Love is powerful and consuming. So many words have been written about where “they’ are: in the stars, the sun, the winds that gently blow. They are in the stories we tell about them and the memories we carry…

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