It was just a hair past 6:00AM when I seated myself in my sister's Ford Explorer - put my coffee in the drink holder and buckled myself in.
We were headed to Missouri.
My haphazardly packed vintage suitcase was in the back, and I wondered if I'd packed a hairbrush.
My oldest sister Vivian had taken ill, and the Pastor was summoning the family to come.
At a few hairs past 6:00AM my sister's cell phone rang with the news that Vivian had been unable to wait for us, and decided to go on home.
I've never lost a sibling before.
It's a different genre of grief.
It's losing a partner in crime - childhood memories - it's squinting at the horizon line of life and seeing something that you couldn't quite make out before - and now it's coming into view more clearly.
Your own mortality.
I just wanted to share one quick thing - and honestly, I just don't have it in me right now to say anymore.
In the final two days of my sister's life - she kept talking about a black cat.
She wanted a black cat - a stuffed one - a real one - a black cat.
None of us knew where this was coming from.
My sister bought a little black stuffed cat for her, and was bringing it to her.
One of her caretakers had a black cat, and was bringing it by for a visit.
We were all perplexed.
Until today - going through photos - I found this.
My sweet sister Vivian as a child with a black cat.
This photo just tore me up.
I found this sweater today when shopping for an outfit for the services:
I do believe it's 95 degrees in Missouri, but I'm wearing this to the funeral.
I'll be gone the better part of a week - I'm so not looking forward to all of this -
if I cross your mind this week - do say a prayer.
My mind is aflutter with thoughts like 'is she whole now?' 'is her mind working fully?' and 'why is it that we consider her abnormal?'
My prayer for us is that we'd really really realize how brief our time is here, and that we'd begin to be kinder to each other. We'd be more understanding, patient, accepting. We'd put our phones down and look into each other's eyes and have deep conversations. We'd listen more than talk. We'd cherish each other. We'd take our eyes off of Facebook long enough to enjoy the sunset. We'd spend more time with friends and family. We'd take better care of ourselves. We'd slow down. We'd even stop more often.
It's over in a blink.