The Only Constant In Life Is Change
I knew coming home would be difficult. I haven't returned home in the last 26 years without eventually talking to Margaret about whatever happened on my trip or listened as she would tell me what happened here while I was gone. When we were still working, we would generally talk at the office, unless one of us experienced something so earth shattering that it wouldn't keep and one of us would pick up the phone to call the other. She and I were not really phone friends, although when we did call one another, the call would generally last a while.
Several times during the long thirteen hour journey from Muncie, Indiana to Monroe, Louisiana, it occurred to me that Margaret would not be there to discuss my trip with me. Indeed, the past few months, while she was so ill, we had talked very little as she was so weak and was unable to sustain a conversation of any duration. At least there had been some measure of hope that we would talk again someday. Now I must talk to her and listen for her response in a different way.
There were two packages waiting for me when I got home from Margaret's family. One contained a DVD of the slide show that played during the visitation and service and a tape of the actual service itself. Another contained a laminated copy of her obituary. I watched, listened and read without tears. Those were shed quietly while Betty prayed with me at the alter on Sunday morning and in the pew sitting next to Margaret's mother during our contemporary service.
I felt off kilter at church and in my Sunday School class on Sunday morning... that little out of place feeling that comes sometimes when you've missed several weeks in a row and you're out of synch with what's going on. I know she was feeling a deep sense of loss and out of place as she usually attends the earlier traditional service and up until Margaret's illness prevented it, she sat with her daughter during Sunday morning services. No doubt, Providence placed us together. Our shared presence in that pew seemed to provide us both with a sense of peace and belonging.
While driving home from church, I realized that I had sensed a piece of my touchstone through sitting with her mother. It was familiar, but different... a new and different way of communicating with my friend.
Life changed while I was away. It always does.
June 9, 1948 ~ June 14, 2007
(5:00 pm -- I've just added the song This Train Is Bound For Glory as it was one of Margaret's favorite songs. I'm certain she reached her destination.)