I was looking at a cloud tonight, while standing on my front porch and trying to decide if it was a turtle with a tail or a mouse. I'll go look at it again in a few moments, and chances are it will be something else entirely.
When I was a little girl, one of my favourite summer occupations was to watch the clouds. We would lay on our backs and imagine what those clouds might be. I remember this, the feeling of summer, the buzzing of flies and mosquitoes, of lazy summer afternoons, with nothing more interesting to do than pester my father for two-bits for a Popsicle from the store. The smell of grass and roses, laying with our heads just out of the shade of the crab apple trees, so that we could see the clouds. Elizabeth, Morgan, Shelby, Adam and me.
My mother called me tonight. Her oldest childhood friend is laying in an ICU bed in Toronto tonight, the victim of a drunk driver. Tonight, one of her sons, a resident at the same hospital will sign the paper work to remove her from life support. Tonight, not far from our breath is a prayer that she will pass smoothly from this life into the next. Not far from my lips are the Anglican prayers for the dead - the same prayers that Charlotte knew as the daughter of an Anglican priest.
My mother told me all of this, and I was struck. When the friends from our childhood die, a part of us goes with them. A part of our history, the shared remembrances, who we were, what we were, where we came from, it goes with them. A part of my mother's life, a part that cannot be re-lived, it dies tonight with Charlotte. With Charlotte's death, a part of my mother's life comes to a close.
I have never met her, but the stories of her and my mother, they live on. Her mother's wedding gift to my mother sits again on my bookshelf. I fished it out of the china cupboard. It seems fitting that it has the words to Aulde Lang Syne on it.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.