But now there's only love in the dark
Five years ago, surrounded by death and dying, my dad and I looked toward the light.
I wasn’t planning on writing about the 2017 eclipse today.
But when my friend, Colleen, posted her own memory of the day on Facebook, I flashed back to that unforgettable time, one that was too tender to write about then.
As you might remember, a full solar eclipse crossed much of the United States on August 21 of that year, and although the path of totality crossed just 150 miles north of where I was in Missouri, I was there to let a different kind of shadow carve a path on my heart.
At 87, my grandmother had just entered the local nursing home, where she would die three weeks later. My dad had just started chemotherapy for a terminal cancer that would kill him 17 months down the road.
It was a heartbreaking season and we were calling in the troops. My cousin, Nick, had flown in from California to help. I was there, working remotely, writing about how you could use a saltine cracker or a colander to safely watch the eclipse that afternoon.
That morning, I went to visit my beloved Gaga in her new room at a nursing home that was the final home for so many elderly relatives in our family over the years.
The elder I loved the very most was facing her final weeks. I was devastated. If she was, too, she hid it well.
I bought her sunflowers to brighten up the John Deere green room. “Are you going to watch the eclipse, Gaga?”
“I don’t think so,” she said.
“Yeah, it would be hard to get outside, wouldn’t it,” I replied. “At least the window is so big. You have a nice view of the outside.”
“Nick and I are going to watch it with Dad,” I continued.
“Is that so?” she said, her words not very pronounced. “I’ll just rest, I think.”
“That’s a good idea.”
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