On the anniversary of her passing… paying tribute to a departed friend, dearly missed.
Mommies, Part 2. November 2012
|Captured at the kitchen table: (front) l to r: Lisa, Cindy, Chris; (back) Jo, Sara, me. 1998|
In the morning, the early birds go on a walk while others sleep in. The water in the nearby lake is low in the fall, exposing its sandy banks. We sometimes see families of ducks–little fluff balls of down, paddling behind their mamas. No sound here, except the wind rushing through the trees and the echoes of birdsong across the lake.
The weather in the mountains can turn in an instant. One year we set out for a walk to the lake and were caught in a heavy downpour that left us soaked to the skin. We were a bit embarrassed to be walking around the neighborhood in our see-through wet T-shirts, but there was nothing to be done about it. Might as well smile and strut. We rushed back to the cabin and took hot showers, shivering with cold and pure joy. Another year, we decided to go up in late autumn after realizing that the kids were too old for Halloween and didn’t need us around anyway. Surprised by an early snow flurry, we rushed outside like kids ourselves, holding out our hands and tongues to catch snowflakes as they drifted down.
|Some of us at Christmas more recently, with our matching red scarves.|
Of course, nothing stays the same.
Chris and I lost our houses in the fire that swept through the Oakland hills in 1991. The moms helped us move into temporary homes and didn’t leave until all the beds were made and the kitchen cupboards were filled. We kept up our meetings while the two of us rebuilt our houses, up the street from each other again.
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|The Moms Celebrate in 2004 (L to R) Me, Chris, Cindy Janiele, Lisa, Sara, Jo|
The empty chair at the table, the candle that glows in her memory—words can’t really convey an absence felt so keenly. We miss her laugh and her spirit of fun, le bon temps. She asked to be buried here in Oakland, near her mommies. She’s close to us, still.
I long to turn back the clock and spend one more evening in the mountain cabin with my friends: sitting by the fire with a mug of hot tea, glowing with the warmth, cheeks flushed from the walk through the trees, sharing a laugh one more time…with all of us there.
But I can only imagine it. Those memories are golden now, as if trapped in amber: a circle of women, strong as mountains.