Tomorrow morning, Easter morning, I will choose a spot of the earth in which to lay our dear sister’s ashes. Taking a last look at her earthly remains, I will say a goodbye to those ashes I’ll never see again, a farewell that is, even now, crying out to be dramatized as ‘the last’ goodbye. But it will not be that; for whatever place I choose will be a place I will look upon often, and where, whenever I look, I will be sure to see her.
As I sit at my computer, typing these words, thinking these thoughts, I realize this is the chair in which I sit for so many hours of the day and night. This the window I look through more than any other. What I see out this window is our garden, and beyond it, in the woods, ‘Friend’s Theater,’ where children’s imaginations are loosed to a freedom full of joy. I think how much she once loved theater — ever since she was a child and had that role as the child in Madame Butterfly — and I think how much she might have liked Friend’s Theater, and how much the theater’s tag line — “where friends do things for friends” — is my reply to a lesson that she taught me, as much as anyone alive.
She’d have felt joy in the smiles of the children who now take the stage there, as she once did. She’d have felt joy in the smiles of the children who dance, as she once could, and in the smiles of those who simply sit, unable to stand, as she was unable to stand, and especially in the smiles of those who simply listen, unable to speak, or simply watch, unable to hear. For day after day, our sister taught me how to participate in the joys of others, no matter how many ways their bodies tried to keep them from their happy flights.
Yes, I think I will lay her in that place. I can see it from my window. It will be the perfect place for her —a place where I’ll never again think of saying goodbye, but always, again and again, a smiling ‘Hello.” A place where I can sit with her — my little sister, my lifelong friend, my wisdom teacher — where I can share in her delight, anticipating and smiling even as the curtains rise.