I'm back in Illinois for the passing of my friend's brother. Gratitude fills my heart for being able to make it back so soon after being here for Christmas.
So interesting to go through grief, not around, not beside, not circumventing but simply passing through.
I went because it was important to me to show my care in physical form, not digitally or post-ally, but in reality to my friend.
We talk every few years or so, but growing up together as well as in the same small town, there seems to be a cord that inherently connects us (and others from here) in such unique ways even though contact may be sparse.
There was something physical I experienced in doing so: She, I and others moved through a passage of time, as if two rings of visible atmosphere opened, and we passed through together.
Being back also afforded my heart other special times, namely having some special moments and conversations with my parents and visiting my junior high and high school friend's parents who also recently lost their son.
For my heart personally, I also oddly cherished being able to see many of my teachers from childhood: my fourth grade teacher (my first teacher at a public school) whom I had just shared a memory about with my sister (who was also back for the visitation and funeral) the day before (I haven't seen this teacher in ages, and she happened to be a server for the luncheon after the funeral), my seventh grade earth science teacher in the local grocery store, my high school teachers of geometry, English (junior and senior years) who were also at the ceremonial events this weekend, and not to mention many other childhood friends or people I know from growing up here.
The winds and weather have been some of the coldest of times here in my rural, country town this winter. Lord, have mercy.