My aunt Denise died unexpectedly on June 17th here in Spokane. I hadn't seen her for several months, even though we lived three miles apart. It was a privilege to serve her and my family during that crazy week. I find it hard to believe that a month has passed since that week she died, a week which is both foggy and vivid in my mind.
This picture was taken last summer on a liberating trip Denise took by herself to my Dad and Mom's farm. I now hold memories from her visit really close.
I was out reading at a coffee shop today when Frederick Buechner's words in The Sacred Journey struck me, words pertaining to his experience of his father's death.
"God speaks to us through our lives, we often too easily say. Something speaks anyway, spells out some sort of godly or godforsaken meaning to us through the alphabet of your years, but often it takes many years and many further spellings out before we start to glimpse, or think we do, a little of what that meaning is. Even then we glimpse it only dimly, like the first trace of dawn on the rim of night, and even then it is a meaning that we cannot fix and be sure of once and for all because it is always incarnate meaning and thus is alive and changing as we are ourselves alive and changing." (41)
I miss Denise a lot - her laugh, her voice, her loyalty, herself, and am grateful to God to have known her. I appreciate Buechner naming the fact that meaning changes even as we change, that as we try to figure out this loss of Denise, we will be learning, we will be changed.
So the task now is to continue to look for Denise's legacy in my life and in the life of our family.