Wednesday, November 2, 2016

On Reaching The Mountain Top

When I woke to rain this morning, I knew I'd finally make it here after a long drought. I haven't been absent for lack of things to say. I've been patient sitting with feelings and waiting for the words. It takes time to make meaning. Truthfully, as I sit here, I'm tempted to crawl back into bed. To cocoon. I'm still feeling the need to insulate myself from the world, but I know that writing is one way to get through this. This being grief over loss and general ennui over everything hence general. Malaise is anything, but discerning.


The loss is the not sudden, but still surprising passing of my cousin. My cousin aunt is a better description of the relationship we shared. Carol left us a little over a week ago after a resolute battle with cancer. It was a long road of treatment plans, good days bad days, hope and then finally resignation. Once she gave up hope, which God bless it she held onto religiously until almost the very end, she went quickly. So therein lies the surprising. I didn't think that my last conversation with her would be our last, and yet I am so thankful we connected, laughed and shared I love yous


I keep thinking that we're born dying. It's morbid, but it's absolutely true and it's also the reason we should pick up the phone, send the card with the heartfelt note, apologize when we are wrong, forgive when we are wronged, keep the coffee date even though we're busy, and book the trip to Costa Rica. Carol didn't get to Costa Rica. She traveled the world though and managed to visit every continent. Traveling was just one of her passions.


Carol was passionate about a great many things and it was her joie de vivre that made her special. She loved animals and birds, the Rocky Mountains literally in her back yard and nature in general, Hawaii in winter and Estes Park in summer, good Italian food especially from Glorisos' on Brady Street, beautiful glass and art, reading and learning, and family and friends. She never missed a holiday, spelled my name correctly or caught a plane on time, but that was Carol...a bundle of goodness and energy lovingly known as Crazy Cousin Carol from Colorado. Carol was one of the most generous people I've ever known. Generous in every way. Last Christmas Teddy and Lily must have opened ten gifts each, she flew in for birthdays, christenings and just because, she always tried to pick up the tab, she called to offer love and encouragement often, she always said yes.


Yes...three powerful letters. One life changing word. 


I regret that I said no to Costa Rica. I regret that I didn't visit her more often in the city she called home.


I spent more time in Boulder after she had passed than when she was alive. I was always passing through. Through to or from the mountains. I spent three days in Boulder for her funeral and I kept thinking how wrong that was, and yet it was good to be there. I'd never been this time of year, and it was glorious. We enjoyed a summery weekend at the tail-end of October and it wasn't lost on me why she moved to the foothills forty years ago and never left. I think she would have loved the weather, the short and sweet ceremony, the send off.

I was honored to be asked to choose a poem to read. It was an easy selection. I went with Kahlil Gibran's On Death for the last line:

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

It made sense since she passed looking out on the mountains she loved finally free from the fight, the pain, the sadness.

Climb Carol knowing you will always be loved and never forgotten for how on earth could we?

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