There is a card on my dining room table. I made it out for a woman from our cancer support group. Jeannine was a quiet woman, one who mostly listened. She was tough though. I went to a Cancer Banquet earlier in the year. I'd been at the Cancer Center that morning, and Jeannine was there for her regular chemo. Yet here she was, just hours later, just a tiny little thing, quietly listening, as was her wont. You'd have never guessed that she'd just had chemo a few hours prior. That was Jeannine. That card will never be mailed. I made out the card, intending to put it in the mail the following morning. I received an e-mail that she had died at 4:40.
Bill Hess talks about circles in his blog today, about beginnings, about ends. I've been thinking about circles myself today, about the spheres that we move in, about what we accept from others, about what we leave when we go, about how our lives touch the lives of others, about legacies. I thought about how the death of one of us resonates within all of us.
And so I cooked today. I cooked up a storm. I cooked up fresh venison steaks (this meat so fresh that it had been on the run just a few days ago...) smothered with onions, mashed potatoes for the thick rich gravy, squash rich with butter and cream, brown sugar. Apples stuffed with raisins basted in brown sugar. I made baking powder biscuits and whipped up a batch of cinnamon butter to spread on their hot goodness. When Tim came home, it was a feast. My sister and her husband stopped by. We ate and we visited. Somehow, today, it just seemed important to me, really important, that the meal be memorable, that the company be savored, that we all sit around the table and swap stories. I listened, and I ate. The plates were passed round and round, and the conversation spun lazily about the table. And I thought about circles.