Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bonnie Lu Ford, June 29, 1945 - June 28, 1990

The thoughts in my head when I woke up this morning were: "My dog looks sweet sitting in the doorway" and then "Today's the day Mom died" and then "Tomorrow would have been her 66th birthday." To my surprise, instead of a heaviness falling over me, I felt warmth flooding my heart. I felt an overwhelming love for her and for my life -- the life she gave me (with some help from Dad). I looked up at the ceiling and in my mind I gave a supernatural, divine shout out to the woman who was in love with my Dad in the early 70s and made two babies with him. So many thrilling, heartbreaking and poignant moments have unfolded since then, and she was here to experience them with me for the first 19 years of my life.

It's amazing to me what time can do to one's heart. It can heal the deepest of wounds, make possible another day when once you were convinced that life as you knew it was ruined forever. If growing older has taught me anything, it's that time and being in the company of those you love are a surefire cure for an ailing heart.

How blessed my family was to have Bonnie Lu for the years we did. I face the anniversaries of her death and birth this year with an abundance of joy and gratitude, and only a smidge of sorrow. But it's the kind of sorrow that is bittersweet, because I've come to accept -- really accept -- in my heart that death and loss are as natural and inevitable as falling in love and high utility bills in the summertime. (My a/c is cranking as I write this.)

I want to dedicate this short essay to my loved ones who are still kicking it here with me on Earth -- to those who make me laugh, to those who make me reflect, to those who challenge me, to those who break my heart, to those who show me it's safe to be vulnerable. I'm also thinking of my friends who are trudging their way through losses at this very moment and mostly feeling the darkness of it all. My heart goes out to each of you in particular. Just know I'll come sit in the dark with you if you need. I'm no longer afraid it.