There is a rainbow at my feet, seemingly embedded in the gray of the carpet fibers. Vivid strips of purple and blue, green and yellow, red and orange, at my feet. What does it mean? Anything? Science in action? Something more?
I know this: that rainbow graces the floor courtesy of a single bevel hanging so cavalierly in the window. Rays from the late afternoon sun stream through that small piece of faceted glass and refract into the colors of light, tossing them onto the floor at my feet.
I’m sitting in Charlie’s chair, and I’ve been thinking of the two tree plantings set this month and next. It was Charlie’s wish to be cremated and his ashes buried among the roots of two trees at two different, yet very special, locations.
I’ve also been pondering the question that was posed to me about closure. Would I regret having delayed it? The unspoken half of that question is this: Have I made it harder on myself and others by delaying closure?
It’s a question with much more awesomeness than impertinence, because it’s forced me to delve deeply in search of an answer. I appreciate that.
My closure, and the closure of those who witnessed and kept vigil the day of Charlie’s death and the days following, happened then. Our closure came with his last breath. Our closure came with the humor from the Hospice nurse who walked in to help with his body, looked around the living room, and asked, “where is he?” as we pointed toward the recliner – the chair I am sitting in today. And in her truly authentic response that normalized the moment, this surreal experience, she heartily responded, “Well, so he is! I’m just not used to someone being in the middle of the living room!”
Our closure came with the wine we cracked open after he died and the toast we made to dying well, at home, as he wanted. Our closure came with the meals brought to us by our Pastor and his wife that night and, later, by the church we had so recently joined. Our closure came at the funeral home, when I made fun of a few things like gaudy dolphin urns and “Thumbies” (jewelry made of a thumbprint, which was, actually, disturbingly pretty). The poor man never did answer my question about whether I could use a Thumbie to gain top-secret clearance, not that Charlie had that, of course.
No, our closure came because we allowed death its natural transition, its inevitable destination, and yet managed to remain in the flow of life. We made way for death to fulfill its purpose as a bookend to birth and honored it as part of living, not a separate thing at all. Life’s ever-present companion is death, and it reminds us to always – always – live well and make our living count for something.
So, do I think I’ll regret delaying closure? No. Because we were willing to be part of his process of dying, closure is there.
There’s a rainbow at my feet, and my thoughts hover. I’m pleased to find them light, airy, and fresh, and much like being surrounded by old friends – comfortable and peaceable. And yet, there’s this rainbow. A sign? A covenant? A refraction of light from the bevel in my window? I don’t know, and I’m not sure I really need to know. I am complete. You can decide.