Our Daily family came to visit last Thursday.  When I married Chris, I inherited two wonderful adult children, Quinn and Andrea.  Quinn and wife Sarah are parents of Kila, of whom I have written in the past.  They have created a life in Bend, Oregon.  Andrea and husband Bill live in Carbondale, Colorado where both are pursuing their college degrees.

It was so good to be with all of them, especially Quinn and family who we haven’t seen since last June.  Kila has grown like a little weed, all legs, freckles and strawberry blonde hair.  Sarah is one of my closest friends.  Being with her is so very lovely…..we seem to be twin souls, sensitive women with a shared perspective on almost every subject.  We sat together on Monday, drinking in the Colorado sun and one another, each of us knowing that this may be our last time together.

They bought flowers and planted them in my garden.  Kila was in heaven!  She dug her little holes for the perky white pansies she had selected, patted them down and watered each one lovingly.   Such important work for this sweet child, who continues to amaze me with her high-spirited nature and precociousness. 

So often, while they were here, she came to me, put her arms out for an embrace.  She looked up at me with the seriousness of a very mature person and said, “I really really love you, Gigi.”  She makes my heart sing.

My daughter Kim and husband Mike joined us for dinner on Sunday evening.  This blended family, so appreciative of the aligned values we all hold dear, enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Sarah and Quinn,  and great conversation.  The ease of being together so lovely, as if we have always been a family.

Quinn helped Kila create a video of pictures of us with great music in the background.  Photos that I had forgotten: when I snuggled in to touch  her hairless baby head; wedding pictures with all of us dressed up for the wonderful occasion, a special one of me looking up at Chris, the love penetrating his mirrored glance.  Ah, those memories, so dear to all of us.  We watched it together with tears flowing all around.

A funny segment included in the DVD, was of Sarah, almost nine months pregnant.   Quinn interviewed each of us asking each of us to guess how much the baby would weigh.  All of us were a bit tipsy, except Sarah, of course.  I was able to hear my voice again and watch my animated face.  I was so silly, enunciating each word in a very theatrical manner!  It was hysterical!  I said, “that is the real ME!”  I was happy, carefree, enjoying my family and the anticipation of a new grandchild.  I loved seeing myself as myself, knowing that the “me” of today is different.  The “me” of today is quieter, more reflective, of very few words, succinctly tapped out on my iPad.  I feel so grateful that my family will have these movies to remember my true essence.  To be fair, there is still a part of me that is silly and irreverent, just not as pronounced in my personality as before.

I miss that “me.”  I feel as if my life has become like a dandelion in late autumn.  The bits of fluff flickering away in the breeze, piece by piece, never again to return to the original flower.  And I am sad.

Everything changes.    My scooter finally arrived after much anticipation.  This enabled me to join everyone at the Denver Zoo on Sunday.  It was so much fun to be able to enjoy all of the animals,  and the experience with my loved ones.  Different but still delightful.

And so, we accommodate the changes and I mourn the parts of myself that have been lost.  I know that my husband and my family mourns the loss of those qualities that they loved and admired.   They support me with physical assistance, emotional strength, and acceptance.  We talk honestly about everything.  We make arrangements for when I pass, accepting my invitation to select books from my library.   I believe that my openness is helping.   We share this journey as a family, grateful for the love we share and the fun times we’ve enjoyed together.   It is all good.