Thurspiration: Strength to Stand

Spring has taken it’s time this year. It waits beneath the fallen leaves and frost at the end of March.

As April begins, we try to remember the last time we experienced a spring starting late in the Carolinas.

Maybe the seasons want us to wait and remember.

See death was not done collecting lives and scaring souls. It still had a say on Black Friday and Easter. For those left behind in the Purgatory between winter and spring, the grandmother tried to hide her pain, and the mother was asked to speak at her best friend’s funeral.

The mother dug beneath the black soil of her spirit. From it, strength blossomed so she could speak about her longtime friend. After all she died during a time Christian families celebrated as the renewal of life: the resurrection.

The grandmother taught me, the granddaughter, that our Christian faith speaks with a soft voice. We worship behind closed doors. We do not shout speeches, but we practice faith through action.

Let faith speak quietly, and let your hands make work.

I watched her fall – not once— but twice.

In my grandmother’s first fall, she faced a tough decision. As cheerful as she sounded on the phone, I knew beneath her stubborn determination to show strength it grieved her to have her loyal cocker spaniel of almost ten years put to sleep.

If you’ve ever owned or loved an animal, you know the mixed pain of anxiety, frustration, guilt and sadness that enters your heart and mind.

Summer Plays with pretend doggy

Summer plays with her Christmas toys.

She was ready to give away most of the dog’s things after her death, but she kept Summer’s bed.

You hear a scratch at the door. A nose pushes open the door. She licks up the leftovers underneath a toddler’s chair.

It takes strength to remember No More.

Mom lost her best friend. She was asked to give a speech in front of an audience.

My grandmother lost her dog. She still had to make food for Easter dinner and welcome Easter guests.

 In the hoped-for quiet days to come, she planned to make a cake for the veterinarians who had cared for Summer.

The test was not over for I would be reminded of what I’d lost and what I still needed to gain.

On the way out of my aunt’s house Saturday night, my grandmother, son and I tried to see the path down the stairs. Missing a step, “Mimi” fell. She did not break any bones or suffer any bruises.

I could not stand the thoughts lurking in the gray pools of my soul. A sad memory emerged.

I never interviewed my Grandfather and Grandmother Dickinson about their early lives. Their heroic stories I learned mostly from my father and second cousin for Sons of the Edisto.

Mom, who had not seen or heard much from her best friend in last few years, would have loved to tell their stories together.

Mimi, who has decades left ahead of her, still has stories, and I have a recorder.

There is a time for strength.

There is a time to write.

Then there’s the time to listen.

By Rebecca T. Dickinson

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