Grief lurks around the corner and ambushes me when I least expect it - when I'm driving to work, or straightening a nightgown display for the 10,000th time, or think of something funny to share with Mom. My friend Terri pointed out that Mom is in heaven now, happy with her friends, family and dogs, waiting for the rest of us to get there some day. This morning I imagined her writing me this letter:
I thought getting here would be harder than driving from Waltham to Gloucester on Route 128 on a Friday afternoon, but it was a snap. Please don't worry about me any more. I am no longer confused and afraid. I got to hug your grandmother, who in heaven has all of her good qualities and none of her tiresome ones, and I'm finally with my beloved dad after missing him so for over 60 years. I see my dear friends (Quimby, Dorothy Bailey Smith, and others you never had the fortune to meet) every day. It would be just perfect if only Aunt Betty Lyons were here too, but it's not time yet for that.
I haven't seen your father yet (which is probably just as well). It's entirely possible he's not here at all, but don't tell anyone I said that. All the dogs are with me, Dinty Moore and Calaban and Stratford and Hildy and Peanuts, and Peaches and Buster and Bessy too. I've had wonderful conversations with Dorothy Parker and James Thurber, who are even more entertaining in person than they are on the printed page.
Be sure to tell my sister I'm saving a seat for her on the train to Patten. Mother will pack us a huge hamper of wonderful food for the trip, and none of it will be fattening.
I know it was hard for you, but you did a good job with my memorial service, Jeannie. You are and always have been the light of my life. I still have more to teach you, but that will come in its own time.
I want you to know that I'm with you every day.
I have to run now. I have a meeting with God about the illiteracy problem in 5 minutes.