Yesterday I asked Annie if she had a photo of her wedding, she waved her hand towards her room, "In the closet on the op shelf, there is a blue box, it is in the middle."
I opened the closet and pulled a chair over. I am still wary of climbing on things, but the desire to see her wedding photo won, and I stood on the chair. I found the box next to her scarves, it was heavy.
Not only did the blue box hold a photo of her wedding day, were she wore a traditional orange blossom crown. It also held photos of her as a young bride and mother, photos spanning seventy years.
Annie and I sat on her bed as I held up a photo. She would recall a memory, or tell me who was in the photo, "Oh that is my son. Wasn't he beautiful?" and more often than not she gave that distant look of someone who was going back to a place and time that no longer is at hand, "That is my mother, and those are my sisters..."
I could tell, by the way she squeezed my leg, she was happy.
After a while I put the photos back and we went back into her kitchen. I thought about the years that I did not know Annie: The photos of a dark haired woman, with 1920 pumps, and the one of her standing on a rock, with her hands on her hips, overlooking the Mediterranean. And another were she was bundled up in a darling coat, as she walked down La Canebiere with her baby boy who had a fluffy scarf around his neck.
Looking through her photos I saw Annie differently. I saw her wrinkles soften and give way to youth, her stride skipping instead of shuffling, her youthfulness playing, her dark thick hair piled up high, yet with a a strand running long to her shoulders...
Before me no longer sat the Annie I knew, but a young woman cloaked with many suns and moons, or should I say sage, olive and orange blossoms?
We are more than the moment at hand, we are the years woven behind us, lending a hand to that which waits.
Later in the evening as I washed the dinner dishes I felt my past, stretching behind me, then meeting me right where I stood, then without asking gracefully going before me.
We are connected past, present, future flowing energy one into the other, yesterday, today, tomorrow like a wave ebbing, flowing to and fro.
My Grandparents, my parents, me and my children... or one friend to another....
Life giving. Earth, wind and fire, a never ending source of being and becoming life for one another.
And in that moment of reflection while doing the dinner dishes, I saw Annie, my mother and daughter my age laughing, teasing, crying... and drying dishes by my side.