She slipped away from us so quietly - she had been in a coma-like state for several days, breathing more slowly, pausing between breaths. Finally she did not take another one and it was over.
I find myself wondering where she has gone.
Is there a heaven and is she there? Somehow I cannot quite picture it. The choir part is reasonable - she used to run one and I can picture her doing that, straightening the halos on the cherubim, getting them in line and on key. But I am afraid I can also see her arguing with the archangels, sliding down golden bannisters, colour co-ordinating rainbows, dying her wings bright turquoise. No, not quite right. She's certainly not in the other place; she's had the lake of fire and demons prodding her with sharp things already. No, definitely not down there.
I don't have any idea what really happens to a person when they die. It could be endless sleep with no awakening to pain. It could be a real heaven, not my leftover-from-irreverent-childhood imaginings. There are several religions that believe in rebirth and that's rather a nice idea - I rather fancy her as an especially mischievous marmalade cat, expiating her misdeeds in her past life by making some child or children laugh. She would make an excellent dryad. Well, it doesn't matter, really. She is out of pain and beyond fear and suffering.
When I look out a window, I hear her voice saying how she thinks of us as living in a park - 'a view out of every window'. I look at the paint swatches sitting on my bathroom counter and wish so much I could talk the colour choices through with her. I sit down with a coffee on the screened porch and remember the last time we sat there together. I hear a red tailed hawk cry and think about how much we enjoyed spotting birds together. I try not to cry.
At least I was able to say good-bye. 'I love you,' I said, bending close to her ear. 'Love you too,' came back in her husky whisper. And I do. I always will. If no where else, she will live on in my heart.