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Crossing Over – Seattle, WA – Volunteer Park

Monday, May 19th, 2014 came up fine, a glorious spring day.

An armada of opaline clouds, their sails puffed full with the solar wind, was already on the move across the sapphire sky and randomly bombarding the land below with life sustaining rain.

The leaves on the trees, only a few weeks before, born emerald green and soft as a newborn’s breath, were now growing thick and tough in anticipation of the scorching sun that would vanquish the armadas of spring.

Into this, I stepped, as I left my home that morning, another day of my life thoughtlessly spent in the illusion that mortal life is infinite.

Later that day, during the amber afternoon, my friend’s daughter, her luggage filled with her family‘s most gentle, kind and patient love, reached her time of departure and navigated beyond the armada, the sapphire sky, and into the onyx night of eternal quiet.

A few months before this particular Monday, the daughter discovered that she had but a few months to live. Quick decisions were made to attempt the impossible and to live the remaining days as normal as possible.

In the beginning that is what happened.

Passing by their home, the blinds would be open and I would see them living life in the same manner as they had over the previous few years.

Some days I encountered them out enjoying a bit a fresh air around the neighborhood. When everything was most normal, they would be gone for a few days visiting, leaving their home dark and the blinds closed.

Over the months, the physical space in which normal existed began to shrink relentlessly.

The walks became less frequent, then less frequent and shorter, and finally they were reduced to the daughter regularly stepping outside to smoke cigarettes while her mother would poke her head out the door every few minutes to make sure everything was still normal.

Soon the windows blinds were always half closed during the day. Not once did I see this cloistering as attempt to confuse death or to keep the world at bay; rather I felt them working hard to keep life from leaking out.

As time grew grave, the cigarettes smoked outside occurred less and less and then one day, the blinds stayed closed 24 hours a day.

Rarely did desperate shadows cloud my friend’s face even though it was clear she was exhausted to death and her heart was breaking. Instead, she gave us cloudless days of resolute calmness, determined devotion, and infinite love.

Late that night, just before the last moments of the last day of months of dying evaporated, my friend sent me a quick note that she was so thankful it is over for her for daughter and that she was going to bed.

Small details paint big canvases; such is the nature of people who do the truly heroic work in life.


Now comes your time to be loved and sustained. Soon enough your blinds will reopen. Soon enough you will step into a morning filled with opaline clouds. Soon enough. Soon enough.

You are loved and admired.

Copyright 2014 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved.