Today is my oldest granddaughter's 14th birthday. Mackenzie is a beautiful, intelligent young woman on the exploratory path of life. She's a flower bud, petals unfolding, drawing strength from the soil of family and the sun of her faith. Rains come and go, nurturing her growth as she expands into her future.
I also learned today that a friend's Dad died, the second friend in a week who has recently witnessed her father depart this earth. Both women acknowledged that "it was time," and expressed acceptance of the inevitable, but their rite of passage brought memories of my own loss, now more than 14 years old.
Fourteen years ago I celebrated the birth of Bethan's first child, a momentous and thrilling event, just a few months after mourning Daddy's last breath. Like every soul, he sprouted from the beginning of time, grew towards the sun, endured unpredictable weather, and made his path a poetic journey.
We gather as family on these occasions, supporting each other and celebrating the existence of a singular being. If I were to paint a canvas representing my thoughts right now, it would have patterns like winding roads and branching trees, diverging and intersecting and sustaining each other. Overlaying all these lines would be circles, cycles of life and death and life again, every one unique.