One of my very first memories is bright sunshine and the smell of bleach. The warm spring wind is blowing and my Mom is hanging sheets out on a clothes line. I’m sitting on the red brick steps leading out from the little four room house in which we live into the back yard. I know we had a washing machine, one of those with the wringer on the top to run the clothes through….but no dryer. I was probably four years old…the spring of 1955. I’m not sure what else I did and didn’t do on that warm spring day. Someone took a photo of Mom and me though. It’s around somewhere, I don’t know where though. I have the memory, and that’s better than a snapshot because I can still feel the heat from the sun, and the smell of clover in the soft wind. I can still see the fresh, clean sheets flapping in the wind. I look up at the blue sky, so much more deep and dark blue then it is now. The world itself was so new, so exciting. Everything I loved and wanted back then was so close that I could reach out and touch it, and I had a perfect sense of security.
People lose a lot of things in their lives. We lose our innocence and we lose our money. We lose our car keys and our sunglasses. Sometimes we lose our dogs and cats…though I hope not too often. Sometimes we lose our car in the parking lots. I’ve had to use my little “beeper” by hitting lock over and over so I could find my cars a lot of times. Wally world parking lots are big and when I go in, I’m not thinking to good sometimes. Losing humans is a totally different matter.
When you lose a person, a loved one, the security of your life takes a huge blow. The sky darkens and the blue is hidden. When the fresh smell of life turns into the cloying odor you smell when you walk into a funeral home you realize that you should have touched them more, talked to them more, and said I love you more.
But then, every day when we wake up we have another chance. Another chance at the sunshine and warmth of spring. Another chance to smell the flowers, taste the food, and see the sky. We have another chance, because most of us still have loved ones, we have another chance to do all the things with them and for them that we might have liked to do with those who are now gone. I loved the moon tonight through the trees, shining so brightly and crystal clear. The moon encompassing the souls of all those who have gone before us…saying “I understand”