Thursday, June 21, 2012

Life as A Venn Diagram - Letter to a Home Town

Margret "Peggy" Walsh

I envision our lives as a Venn diagram; a dome like bubble over each of us, with a fat flower petal where we overlap. In my mind’s eye they are filled with colored light. My companion and I are yellow and blue. The petal that we share shines with the green of spring time. That is where we are now, in that place where our lives intersect. This is the way it might always be, but in this moment I am distinctly aware.

This past week his life has been dominated by his mothers rapidly failing health. She reached that point when loved ones were called to gather. All seven of her children came to spend time. No one needed to be reminded that each day might be her last.

In the windows of time he pushed open he visited her in the hospital. He missed work, dinners and family outings. He arrived home tired or wired or sometimes both. I ask him how it was. “Quiet” he’d tell me. Inside the dome of her last days words were oft spoken in hushed tone.

I am in the supporting role. I take up as much of the slack as I can; making sure meals are available to accommodate random schedules, the right clothes are clean, that the tasks of daily life are taken care of. Even time with the Figlet, at least the hours based on the hours I work, becomes optional. He rearranges priorities as needed. I get flustered when there are things I cannot remove from his path. It highlights the strength of our partnership; still I am relieved that this is a temporary situation. 

In our Venn diagram, the place where we overlap keeps growing. This year we have added supporting each other in time of death. In my grandfathers final days when the family took turns sitting bedside he was there for me. He kept little ones occupied, dried dishes, held me tight. He helped to assure that the tasks of daily life were taken care of so that I could rearrange priorities as needed.

On the day that they thought his mother was out of the woods, she’d only just come to the meadows edge for a last clear glimpse of the sun. Both she and my Grandfather died in a way that most of us hope that we would: without prolonged suffering, with family nearby, and with dignity. They left this world buoyed by the love of their children and grandchildren – the same love that kept them anchored in life.

What if all of our lives are a great Venn diagram, overlapping here, there everywhere? What if all of the colors that surround us in this world are the petals of light where we all overlap? What if a soul could overflow with color fed by the ways they touched others? What if a rainbow is one of those souls ascending, leaving streaks of light color across the sky?

Margret Walsh, mother of my companion, left a rainbow.

I hope that this letter has found you and yours in good spirits and good health. Until I write again…