The hotel I’m staying in is just a short block from Newport Subacute, the first convalescent home Vernon stayed in. Vernon only stayed there for a couple of months before we moved him to Mesa Verde. I walked over there this morning because there’s a Starbucks on the corner. While waiting for my black americano, I strolled the parking-lot one last time.
Those who have been following the story for a long time might remember the quirky antique store I used to frequent as well. There was never much I wanted to buy but lots to look at. I could spend an hour at a time in there.
Vernon did buy me a ring there though. Remember? (I picked it out and paid for it as wives are good at doing. I’m not alone in this, am I, ladies?) I’m still wearing it regularly.
I’m really only writing about this this morning because I’ve been meaning to comment more on all the closures I’m seeing around me. I’ve been seeing them for some time. They were really strong last week at the hospital. Now I’m more used to the signs and connective memories popping up everywhere. I notice them, but I’m no longer startled by them. I just don’t want to forget.
Last week, when everything was intense and active with so much change, important choices, people to talk to, going back and forth from home to the hospital, it felt to me as if I was witnessing the forming of a bracelet clasp, mirroring the clasp that was formed at the onset of our journey. Everything in between was the bracelet, but it’s the beginning and end of the circle that complete it, make it into a piece of jewelry rather than just an ongoing strand of beadwork or metal. It’s the clasping of the thing that gives it a name, a purpose. It’s the closure of the clasps that we are experiencing: the circling around, the solidifying.
So many mirrored things. Too many to list here. So many faces showing up at the end that showed up at the beginning. I try to capture them all as I see them, but I know I will forget. People bringing food, coffee, wine…they did this in the beginning. People providing fun distractions and care for the kids. Even the hotel shampoos and lotions have a message for us.
From Ecclesiastes 7:
A good name is better than fine perfume,
and the day of death better than the day of birth.
It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
the living should take this to heart.
The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride.
Also from Solomon, that old Wise Guy:
“you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.” (Song of Songs 4:9)
I just took this photo of Vernon…the first time I’ve seen his eye open since last night. It may be the last picture of him looking at me that I will get. I felt lucky to get it now.