We had just come home from visiting Tessa in the hospital when I read Shannon's blog about the last few days and weeks of her friend's life. Shannon's writing touched me because it explained so much of what we were feeling in our visits to the hospital. Tessa is slipping away into another land, another place, she struggles to find interest in the day to day events of our lives - which suddenly seem very busy and very confusing to her. She speaks wistfully of her old life, trying hard to remember it as real. She is now much closer to where she will be than she is to where she was.
On our way down to the hospital we were talking about what to pick up for her. For a while we brought food, sweet food with extravagant calories. Then, when food was no longer enticing, we started picking up iced coffee's and chocolate milk. She appreciated the gifts, but they are lined up, almost accusingly, on her bedside table. She's not a magazine reader and she's got more books than she knows what to do with on her electronic reader thingy.
I glanced into one of the stores on our way south. It's a store full of wonderful costume jewelry, a store that Tessa and we often stopped at to marvel at the brooches and tiaras. I can't get into the store, it's in a really old building, but they are shopkeepers who will bring anything I want out to the street for me to look at. And they do it with flair. Joe went in looking for something that would be bright and brash and bold. It was time, we decided, to stop trying to feed Tessa's body, it was time, instead to feed her soul.
Joe went in and found a bracelet, a clunky big bracelet, in the shape of a tiara. It had bright gems that easily caught the light, it was a bracelet that laughed. It was something that the Queen wouldn't wear but that Queens would. In a word. Perfect. We bought it, bundled it into the bag at the back of my wheelchair and headed south to the hospital.
Tessa was tired when we arrived, but we got in and Joe immediately started rummaging around in the back of my bag, I could see in her eyes that she was expecting something to drink, that she was preparing to look excited about it. I then asked her to close her eyes. She did. We took the bracelet and opened it up and put it around her wrist. She showed surprise as the cold metal touched her skin. Then she opened her eyes and they were filled with delight. 'Oh, I love it,' she said.
Tessa, we realized in our visit, is much closer to the shores of death, she is sailing away from us on a bed that looks, deceptively, stationary. During our short visit, she looked at the bracelet and laughed.
And we all knew that her laughter, now, could be heard on both sides of the great divide, I could not wish more for her than this, that when she comes to heaven's door, she enters laughing.