It’s a recurring theme for me: something occurs that roils my emotional waters, instantly flooding me with dark memories of grief-filled days when the icy reality of Lee’s death occupied my every waking moment. Such emotional waves are not connected to a specific date, place, or occasion, but rather surface unexpectedly, and can be triggered by things most people might view as innocuous.
In going through yesterday’s mail, I received one of those bulk mailers soliciting a charitable contribution. It’s a common occurrence at this time of year. This one was from an organization called Caring Bridge. I was familiar with Caring Bridge, which is a site host for the friends and families of someone who is experiencing a significant medical issue. Visitors post messages of encouragement, sometimes photographs, even videos, and, in turn, they can get the latest news about a sick friend or loved one.
I am familiar with the site. Back on June 20, 2020, we opened a Caring Bridge site for Lee, who by then was back home from the hospital to spend her final days. Indeed, Lee died shortly thereafter, on July 2nd to be exact. During its brief duration, her website drew one thousand five hundred twenty-seven visits. I always found it remarkable that Lee quietly touched so many other lives: family and current friends, of course; many co-workers; folks from her hometown in Michigan, including some childhood friends. With the slightest tinge of jealousy, I would note that one old boyfriend had weighed in to share his well-wishes.
Over the course of a year, Caring Bridge sends me multiple mailers. However, the one that arrived yesterday prompted me to visit Lee’s Caring Bridge site. I couldn’t tell you why.
It was not unlike visiting a cemetery. I was reminded of the forgotten names of many kind people who contributed to Lee’s site. Some of the messages I read yesterday resonated with me in ways I hadn’t noticed before now. The photographs, especially those of Lee’s young great-nieces and great-nephews, were revelatory. In my mind’s eye, I see them growing up. For me, these photos underscore the ever-widening passage of time the living must endure after the loss of a cherished loved one.
Notwithstanding a few laughs or smiles, revisiting the site predictably was sad for me. Once my tears dried, however, I was glad I did.