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[personal profile] mcfires
Right now I'm sitting in a hotel room in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, decompressing from the past weekend.

Death is a part of the constant of human existence. Clotho spins the thread of life, Lachesis measures the length of the thread, and when the thread has ended, Atropos cuts the thread, ending the life. The myths have passed down through time; we each are born, we live the life that we live, and when the time comes, we pass on into the next world. But it's never easy for those of us who are still on this world.

I flew out here for Grandma's services on Thursday. Fortunately the weather cooperated; my plane landed at Sky Harbor Airport on time and I was able to grab my rental car and head on north. It was a pretty quiet wake and service; Grandma lived for so long that by the time she hit 101 years old, few if any of her contemporaries are left. Pretty much the immediate family were there: me, Dad, my aunt and her husband, my uncle and his wife, and all but one of my cousins (she couldn't make the trip now, but made it out to see Grandma before the end.) I think this will be one of the last gatherings of all of us, unfortunately. It's sad. But in a way, the only one of that side of the family I really got to know was Grandma: we didn't see my aunt or uncle on Mom's side nearly as much as we did the family on Dad's side.

I stayed long enough to see the gravediggers lower Grandma's casket into the grave beside my grandfather. I was her youngest grandchild, and the only child of her eldest daughter whom she lost seven years before. I know the tears were streaming down my face, and I was barely able to croak out the words that Grandma and I always traded when we ended a phone call or I left from a visit: "I love you, bye bye." I know she was there though, watching over us. Before the graveside service began, someone noticed feathers floating down from a large pine tree above us. Sure enough, there was a hawk up there enjoying a dove for lunch. Grandma was an avid birder, and she would have known in an instant what type of hawk it was. As the priest gave the final benediction, we heard a *thunk* as the hawk took off. Dad said that he thinks that was Grandma leaving us. Though as I walked away, I turned back. I think it was probably a figment of my imagination, but for a moment, I saw three figures: Mom, Grandfather Jekel, and Grandma, each as they appeared in their prime. I know they're together again, and I know I'll be with them again when my time comes.
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March 2011

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