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January 13, 2014

The very moment Lysle and I passed Aura’s house – and we certainly did not linger or even slow since that would have been creepy of us – Lark stood not at the window, but a few feet away from it, yet exactly centered in its frame.
Just her silhouette, her signature Pippi-Longstocking braids and bangs, in the room’s warm light and the window’s tall frame.
Was she looking out? At the houses across the street maybe? Or the cars driving down the street?
Was she seeing her reflection in the glass?
Was she crying? Smiling? Blank-faced?

I believe she may have been stunned. She’d made it through the memorial for her mom – bravely and in part outside, away from eulogies and surrounded by her own young crowd in the fog under the trees, playing hard.
And now here she was – in the house her mom had furnished and adorned for them. Left in her mom’s home, her own home. Left by her mom. Yet still surrounded by everything her mom made. Including herself, her own nine-year-old body.

Lark does not know what hit her.

She may not know for a long time.

She’ll just go on – day by day – without her mom’s body, the comfort and kindness of it.

Missing the body, the voice, the smile and hug hurts.

Having had the body, the voice, the smile and hug helps.

In photos at the memorial Lark looked a lot like the black-haired version of her blond mother when she was a child. But she’s way more than that. We’re all way more than a version of our parents, either apart or together.
We are the totally new one that came from them. We are that totally new one until the moment we die, no matter how old we grow. At age 71 my mother was still that totally new one. Only herself.

There was an immensity in that briefest glimpse of Lark.
The death of those we love anoints us to be even more totally new than we already were before they left.

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