It had been awhile since I traveled to the northeast. When we got the notice of Aunty’s passing it felt shocking and unexpected. As I filled the suitcase with layers of clothing, perspective brought calm to my thinking. In her 81 years, she had faced some incredible mountains, the most recent being dementia after co-battling her husband’s Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (Uncle had succumbed to that three years prior). Both proved impossible to conquer.
Thoughts of slack-key guitar, tortilla soup, and dying of Queen Anne’s Lace came to my mind. Each is a process. In years past, drop by drop, with hours in between, my children watched and waited as Aunty showed them the colorful dying process of lacey white blooms. “The soup’s flavor is best when it is prepared in a slow-cooker,” Aunty instructed. “You have to keep at it; keep practicing; you’ll get it,” Uncle encouraged while teaching my husband Hawaiian slack-key. Such lessons became as seeds to be shared; they were, in essence, legacy in-the-making.
In boarding the flight back home, I had an unshakable sense that something had been missed. I dug the book out of my backpack that I had set aside for weeks. I suppose I just didn’t want the story to end. There in the 10th and final chapter of The Noticer, my eyes met with what was amiss. I smiled through tears as I read impeccably timed insight. Good grief! I had forgotten to pack the fork!
You see, every meal enjoyed with Uncle and Aunty included dessert. We all knew to “keep your fork. The best is yet to come,” just as the author wrote. The mountains were overcome. The (living and) dying process was finished. No need for anyone to be afraid. I know they knew – the best was yet to come. I hadn’t packed the fork to place in her hand. I did, however, leave there chock-full of “the seeds they planted in our minds and hearts, sufficient to carry us forward. Those seeds (of perspective) are more valuable than diamonds or gold.” Surely, it is time for us to continue planting … patiently going through the process, waiting and watching for the blooms.
“Many people ignore ‘small stuff,’ claiming to have an eye on the bigger picture, never understanding that the bigger picture is composed entirely of small stuff.”
~ ANDY ANDREWS (New York Times best-selling author of The Noticer AND The Travelers Gift)