Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Verb Tense

You don't have a soul.
You are a Soul.
You have a body.

-C.S. Lewis

Can you think of anyone you feel like you've known your whole life?  Not neccessarily a parent or sibling; just someone who is a constant in your life and you can't remember not knowing.

That is what Teresa is to me.  I don't know how my mom met her.  Probably through work; she's a surgeon, and my mom a nurse.  They became friends, and it feels like she was just always... there.  Not really like a second mother; Teresa's not really a kid person.  Not in a way where she lures small children into her gingerbread house- more that she's never really seemed as comfortable around small humans as the bigger and supposedly more mature ones.  So not a parental figure, but more like extended family:  someone who occupies a continuous and influential space within my little bubble. 

Do you have anyone like that?  I hope you do.

If you do, I'm sure you have all kinds of memories of them stored up:

I remember Teresa bringing over her chocolate chip cookies that are more chocolate than cookie.

I remember her bringing my sisters and I the New Kids On The Block Christmas CD. (First of all, it was a freaking CD and not just a tape, and it was NKOTB:  Score!)

I remember her being at our house for my eighth birthday, watching me open a birthday present.  I had not quite finished ripping off the paper when my four-year-old sister got too excited and yelled, "IT'S A LOCKET!" effectively ruining the surprise.  I burst into tears.  Poor Teresa looked completely bewildered.  No wonder she isn't big on kids.

I remember Teresa talking to me like a was a real person when I was young, like she was genuinely interested in what I thought and had to say about things. 

I remember when Teresa married Dan, widely known to be the nicest man.

I remember how much she loved to run, and seeing her run in races alone and with one of her beloved golden retrievers. 

I remember when Dan died of cancer.

I remember finally growing big enough that those beloved dogs of hers didn't knock me flat every time I walked into her house.

I remember Teresa going on a trip to the Grand Canyon, after Dan passed away.

I remember finding out Teresa had fallen while hiking in the Canyon.  Not like, Whoops, she tripped, but Leaning-over-to-take-a-picture-of-a-bird-the-ground-crumbling-beneath-her-and-falling-80-feet.

I remember finding out she was paralyzed from the diaphragm down.

I remember all the times we've talked about books. 

I remember her dogs knocking me down, even now that I'm all grown up. 

I remember being pregnant with Caedmon, and comparing notes on heartburn.  She had recently begun to experience that fun sensation, due to all the fluid and swelling in her abdomen.  She joked that we had matching bellies.  I don't recall what all the fluid was from- probably related to the ovarian cancer riddling her body.

I remember when Teresa died, just about a year ago.

You know what I really love about the above quote from C.S. Lewis?  It allows me to talk about Teresa in the present tense.  Not Teresa was, but is.

Teresa is.

Like so much of my family and friends, it was with grief mingled with relief that we bid farewell to Teresa last year.  Grief because we'll all selfishly miss her until reunited.  

Relief that she had finally shed that broken-down old body of hers. 

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
They will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not be faint.
-Isaiah 40:31

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