We stood huddled together outside in the yard.  A thin smattering of dark brown mulch covers the frozen ground.  The tree's branches above reach out thin bony arms, bare, still.  Moments before I dug a hole next to tree's trunk.  How deep for a fish no longer than an inch long?  Deeper?  Deeper. 

When I picked the boys up from school, I told them that Rosie had died.  That I had found her on the bottom of the tank that morning right after they left for school.  

Sully said, well how do you know that she was dead?

Because I knew, I said.

Probably because she wasn't swimming and she wasn't breathing - she wasn't breathing, right Mom? said Theo.


She was deep on the bottom - our fish who lived life as a floater.  And she was breathless.

She was just a fish, I tell myself.  Trying to brush my thoughts away like a wisp of hair bothering my face.  She was just a fish.  Then touch her.  Touch her!  And yet I could not.  I did not want to put my Friday hands so intimately on death.  I did not want to run my fingers over not-so-old stones still spinning in my pocket.  I did not expect a reaction.

We're going to put her back in the earth.  Come now.  

Standing next to the tree, we poured her into the hole.  In the quiet of winter, in the ground, she was salmon pink with magenta fins and fools gold speckles.  

Goodbye Rosie.  I hope you can swim in heaven, Theo said.  

I covered her with dirt and mulch and Sully laid a painted rock atop her grave.  

The boys promptly ran off, living wholly in the moment, and I took notice.

Swim to the light.

Swim to the light.


Smoke and Sparkles

I am rooted, but I flow.  (Virginia Woolf)

Coffee and words this morning.  Our world is covered in a blanket of fog and on my desk smoke swirls.  Lately my prayer has been more like-minded beautiful souls in my life.  To fill up my time.  To push me into glorious inspiration and to challenge myself to be a beautiful soul too.  

Last night I dreamt that I saw my grandparents; the ones I loved thick as honey.  My mom called to tell me they were here.  I searched rooms but could not find them.  Over there, she said.  And then I saw them.  Two people sitting together at a little table drinking coffee, smiling.  They did not look the way I knew them to look in real life, but up close it was them, very very old.  I went to them and they took me, as always, into their simplicity and kindness.  We talked and laughed with our hands wrapped around warm cups.  I saw my grandpa's eye sparkle and my grandma's brief smile.  This was the dream.  There was no parting.  No tears.  There was no sign of death or hollowed bones or dust.  It was just them, beautiful as ever, and me filling up.  

I awoke briefly following the dream.  A lucid moment to solidify what I know: prayers do get answered.


Little Hand

Last night, in the middle of the night, Sully called out to me.  Mom.  In a daze, I went to him and slipped into his bed.  This is what I do; no sense in losing any sleep.  I turned on my side, my back to him, and he said softly, please turn around.  Face me.  I'm scared.  In the quiet and the dark, I saw his little hand reach out for my face.  He held it like I hold his.  In that very moment, a heaviness that has been weighing me down the past few days lifted.  I suppose we cannot put a time on when caring happens, or the sweetness of something soft and gentle.  We take it when it comes.  We know what it is when it is right there in front of us, and we say Okay and Thank you.