via Sharing Strength
Many of us have never lived through such uncertain times as we are living right now, but as I listen to my 95 year old Mother tell stories of the life during the Great Depression and World War II, it occurs to me that this tenuous time will also one day be history. We’ll tell our grandchildren about the pandemic of 2020 and how, though uncertain of the unknown, we held fast to our faith and pulled together as families and neighbors and communities to help one another.
I wrote this years ago, but the lesson is timeless.
Iron sharpens iron. As one man sharpens another. (Prov. 27:17)
This is the miracle of human connection: we do not need to be in the same room, the same state, or the same country to reach out our hands and lay bare our hearts and say, I stand with you stunned – in silence and prayer, I will hold your hand, I will share your tears, I will take the impact of your pain and fear as my own and bear it with you. We are all one. I feel this loss because this too is my brother, my parent, my child, my beloved. And I will stand with you – the left behind, the living – and share my strength.
There is such comfort in knowing we are never really alone.
It is a poignant reminder of the first time in my adult life I learned this lesson.
On September 25, 1978 I began my drive to work from Coronado to San Diego. Half-way across the Coronado Bay Bridge, a perfect 230 feet above water, sun glanced off my windshield and created a tunnel-like view of a small plane as it clipped the underside of a passenger jet and dropped from the sky. I slammed my foot on the breaks and stepped out. As cars on the bridge screeched to a stop behind me, I stood and watched with horror as the jet banked away, paused, and began a nose down dive. The sky shrieked wildly until it didn’t. For one brief moment I imagined the plane was landing, until it hit the earth and exploded into a pluming black cloud. Movement around me slowed to half speed, then quarter speed, as if the air in the blue sky had thickened with sorrow.
Those of us watching from the bridge began to scream; the sound inhuman, swallowed whole by the eerie howl of a sudden hot wind. The heat roiled in my stomach and I bent over where I stood and vomited. A man, a complete stranger, came to me and held my head, smoothed my hair back. He made kind sounds, non-words that echoed through the blood buzzing in my ears.
I don’t remember the drive to the crash site. I do remember following my stranger’s silver Mercedes as though it was a lifeline, a reality I needed to stay with. We parked blocks away, but we felt the heat, even then, as he took my hand. We ran, or he did. I stumbled beside him, keeping pace with the sirens, praying, passing stunned people who staggered into the streets. A wall of heat and smoke stopped us and we stood, useless.
My stranger fell to his knees then, pulling me down with him, crushing my hand to his chest while he wept; long crawling gasping sounds. We huddled there in the street on our knees, and between sobs he told me that he’d been running late, on his way to the airport to pick up his daughter. She was 25, working in LA and coming for a visit. Surely, she’d forgive him for leaving her stranded. He whispered the last words and I put my face close to his, looked into his eyes and took the full impact of his words.
I felt then like elderly people must feel when they forget who they are, where they are, what shoes are for, when each gesture calls meaning into question, unbuttoning a button, breathing. I had just turned 20, a mere child, but I forced myself to understand we were taking turns, as people do, in sharing strength.
I learned later that the 727 was carrying more than six tons of fuel, much of it in the wing tanks. The news reported that from the moment of impact with the Cessna, it took just 17 seconds to transform PSA Flight 182 from a fully functional airliner into a mass of burning wreckage encompassing four city blocks. The crash destroyed 22 houses in North Park, and killed 7 residents, as well as all 144 people on board the jet and both pilots in the Cessna.
Jeff told me later that he knew his daughter was on the plane the moment he witnessed the impact, but that tending to me and having me with him gave him the strength he needed to “keep the fist out of his gut long enough to know, without a doubt, that he couldn’t save her.”
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as true strength.” ~Sales
Grace meets us where we are.
“There is tenderness in the presence of true strength; it fairly grips the soul and stays long after the moments fade, years I think. Perhaps even a lifetime.” ~L. Bukowski
Lynnette Bukowski ©2012 All Rights Reserved
Lynnette Bukowski is a freelance author and the Founder/Director of LZ-Grace (Landing Zone Grace) Warrior Retreat. (www.lz-grace.org)
Even in my dreams you take my hand and lead me to places where words tumble from a secret place.
You decorate and dazzle me with brilliant color and velvet texture. Falling leaves I can feel under my bare feet.
I am standing in the middle of my favorite Autumn and you know this.
“They don’t crinkle,” I say, and you ease me down until we’re lying next to each other in a blanket of color.
You gather bunches and crush them gently in the air. I smile at the crisp, cool sound and watch you carefully as you roll sideways, balance on your arm, and smile down at me,
“Tell me where you’ve been, love.”
I think of all the lost roads, and empty eyes,
of the long flights and dark corners,
and lonely rooms,
of all the change and turns into
places where things fall away, and fall apart,
and the hallways where coming undone and being uncovered
break hearts and shatter dreams
of all the paths I’ve taken to live in faith
how I’ve been lost in the heavy work and sorrow,
to all the pain
and to the healing that comes with surrender,
and I wonder about forgiveness, for they know not what they do
and how to give away
The joy you fill me with each day
on my side of Heaven,
and you hear this even though I don’t speak a word until I say,
“I’ve been letting go of heavy things
and I’ve been healing
spirits here and there.
Sometimes my own, sometimes another.
and tending to souls, and listening to hearts,
I can hear unspoken fears
and I address my own
and I’ve finally begun to exhale, and to breath in, and I’m learning
how to let go of so many heavy things.
I’ve been on my way here.“
Lynnette Bukowski © 2019
This is a story of encouragement and dreams alive and gratitude, but I need to take you down into the dirty with me before we climb back out and see the light.
I woke up this morning with three hours of sleep and money on my mind. When I’m overwhelmed, I pray first and then get to work on details. But the details today turned into another day of figuring out just how I’m going to stretch the checking account to pay property taxes due in a few weeks. This is always where my frustration starts to build.
I don’t know if every other non-profit in this city receives a break on property taxes, but we don’t. I do know there is an application process in place which goes before the city council and is rarely denied. I applied for a partial exemption from property taxes three years ago and my application was tossed. Not denied,simply tossed out and not heard before the council because one city council member doesn’t like me or what I do. I know this to be true because she rudely dismissed me and my vision for LZ-Grace in front of my daughter and mother across a meeting table, and a few months later had my application for property tax partial exemption removed from the city council agenda moments before I was to present my case. Apparently, I can house and feed farm-workers who help farm the land, but welcoming, feeding and nurturing combat SOF warriors as they decompress from war and trauma on ARP farmland was out of line. And don’t get me wrong, I don’ object to paying taxes. I object to unfairness and hidden agendas. I did have my say in front of council in 2015, but to no avail. Attorneys I reached out to afterward told me to keep my head down, my mouth shut and pay. And not to bother appealing the “toss out” or request tax exemption again because the city’s attorneys and Henley will break me.
Fair enough, except I’m me and a Frogman’s widow and that’s not how I get broken.
Most importantly, God didn’t see it quite the way the attorneys did and so each and every six months when I have to scramble to come up with nearly $7K now, I do. And we farm. Horses and hops and hope and organic vegetables that we harvest and eat. We farm and we play and we rest and we pray and we discover healing and we speak life into loss and we love. On ARP farmland.
I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m a little bitter about entrenched politicians and their attitudes. I’m working on it.
I did take a moment to thank God for the generous souls who have donated funds, stood fast in prayer and supplied grants to ensure that we continue to grow and serve. The dream is real because the entire family stepped up, the community around us put on their work boots, an Architect, Scouts and Dominion VA Power folks, Veterans and Active Duty, Firefighters, Police Officers, Deputy Sheriff’s, Realtors and neighbors surrounded us with help and dedication and grace. Amen.
Then I climbed back down into my pity pot and sloshed around, cried, worried, paid more attention to interruptions then details, got snappy with the dogs, irritated with my healing broken leg and ended up chucking all my work aside to mindlessly scroll through Facebook.
This is where He finds me.
Memories with photos and write ups from four years ago today. On November 16, 2014, 253 people joined me and my family for the Dedication and Blessing of LZ-Grace. The Patriot Guard arrived with American Flags in all their glory, esteemed speakers flew in from across the country and neighboring states to speak. Music played. The choir sang. The Warriors Fire-Pit, built by an Eagle Scout and his Troop, was lit for the first time. Prayers were said. Brothers reunited. On that day, five months after we moved in, most of the buildings were still in disrepair, the barn was empty, the fences were falling down, the weeds were out of control, and I had no earthly idea how I was going to pay for all that needed to be done and take care of our warriors, but none of that mattered because we all gathered for a most extraordinary day of hope and vision and life spoken into this sacred land.
As of today, November 16, 2018 – exactly four years from the Dedication and Blessing and 3.5 years since we opened our doors – we have welcomed 3,063 souls to the healing peace of LZ-Grace (1,098 individuals on site, 98 individuals remotely and 1,876 families and groups).
It was hard, hard work and painful lessons, but we ended most days with joy. Frustration and bitterness have no place in these blessings.
Perhaps someday I’ll return to the city, new application in hand and be granted relief, but for today, I’ll stand in gratitude for the blessings that we’ve been given and let God work out the details with politicians who can dislike me and strong arm me, but have no say so over peace and grace and precious souls who come here – to the farm – as visitors and leave as beloved family.
Like a child being gently disciplined, I am reminded this morning that while paying the bills on time and keeping track of numbers is necessary, it is not my most important concern. My job is to be a good steward of and nurture the most fundamental part of our mission: peace and renewal for an individual’s body,mind, soul and spirit. To be a witness to these changes in individuals, up close and in myriad ways, is miraculous. Each person we meet here and talk to remotely brings an experience that encourages and teaches. We are still at war,but for a time – at a home away from home – on a farm – a life is saved, a marriage strengthens, a family blossoms, a career stays on course or a supported transition takes flight.
Miraculous is the only solid form of measurement we need.
And this note on the fridge. Because the dream is real…and I love you.
This is God’s Vision. Human hands can not shut it down.
Each and every year we were married – no matter where he was in the world – Steve sent me roses on HIS birthday.
The odd tradition began after our first year of marriage. He was away on a “work trip” and after a particularly ugly over-the-phone argument, I received two dozen roses with a card: “I’m such a jerk and I’m sorry, but you managed to love me for another 365! so Happy Birthday to me. I pray you love me forever. I will you.”
On July 24, 2010, a month and three days after his death, I received two dozen roses with a lovely note professing his forever love and thanking me yet again for loving him another 365. I thought it was just a cruel twist… something he arranged weeks before, and the florist, not knowing he died on June 21, followed through with delivery.
But each and every year since his death I continue to receive two dozen roses, on or near his birthday, and always with a note full of words germane to what I’m struggling with or going through at the time.
I woke this morning as I do every morning – missing Steve. I wished him a happy earth birthday and blessed his constant presence around me. Sadly, I thought, this will be the year the flowers stop because the SEAL Brother I believed responsible for keeping Steve’s birthday flowers coming (even though Brian adamantly denied it when I asked three years ago), passed away after a long struggle with cancer in early June of this year.
Somehow though, the miracle of Roses from Heaven continues. On this day, with roads flooded and unrelenting rain in Virginia Beach – July 24, 2018 – Steve’s birthday and 123 days after I broke my leg so badly that surgery required plates and rods and pins to put me back together, two dozen beautiful roses were delivered with a timely and loving and encouraging note. I mention my injury because ~ Heaven Knows ~ I am just now humbly, ungracefully, learning how to walk again – step by painful step.
And yes, I love him forever on earth and in Heaven and with each step by every new difficult step. My body is temporarily broken, but I am renewed each year with faith and strength beyond my wildest dreams.
L.J. Bukowski, All Rights Reserved © 2018
I began once again to dream about the future at 10:02 pm on a Friday night eleven months and 26 days after Steve died. I only know this because at the exact moment I entered the dark barn on our North Carolina farm that evening, a full moon reached in and illuminated only the hands on an old kitchen clock and the rusty nail it hung on.
Restless and angry at God, my intention was to pack boxes in the loft and organize every square inch of life for my children because I was not willing to live through another night. I no longer had time for time, but I did have whiskey, sleeping pills and a spotless house. Our kids were grown, strong and smart. Our dogs and horses and barn cats would love them through this. My papers were in order, our bills were paid off, Steve’s life insurance was in the bank and the only way I was going to see Steve again was to find him where he was. I’d work out the whole mortal sin thing with God once we were face to face and I’d had my say.
There are no words large enough to describe the arrogance and insanity of a grieving heart.
But that damn clock. The precise time hovered over me like a necessary memory I could not quite reach. The woman once known as Lynn would have paused, noticed, waited patiently for the message, or the memory. But I could not find that woman. Frustrated and empty, I stood on the dirt floor of a dark barn until Pretty Girl, our paint mare, sauntered up behind me and rested her big head on my shoulder. I nudged her away. She nickered, nosed her halter off its hook, dropped it on the ground at my feet and stared at me with big eyes.
Two years earlier I was bucked off a Palomino and broke four ribs. In half. I had not climbed onto a horse’s back since. She knew and I knew it, but her energy both softened and emboldened me. I slipped on her halter, made a loose rein from the lead rope and used the barn wall to climb up onto her bare back and fold myself around her.
We walked all seventeen acres of the farm that night, around the ponds, through the trees, past the solid fencing I helped Steve build. I don’t know the exact time I let go of the rains, but it was then that my heart beat wildly with memories, my hands rested on my thighs, my body gave in to the movement and all the feelings and dreams of the woman known as Lynn returned to my mind and my soul.
I still do not know why God waits until we’re on the edge. I do know his timing is impeccable and it is not my imagination that this beautiful horse, who came to us the year before with the name of “Teacher”, would pause at precise moments, stand perfectly still to let me cry, catch my breath and begin again to dream.
I just had to let go of the reins.
Lynnette Bukowski ©2016 – All Rights Reserved
When my mother was a child she used to escape to her “rock in the sky” and dream. Usually about words. And if you’ve ever read her writing (www.gracebeyondgrace.com) you would understand how God poured His giant Yes all over that dream.
Fast forward a few decades and God is still pouring out His YES all over her dreams. These pics are part of her “Dream Board” she did maybe 3 or 4 years ago. Before we found this farm. Before we knew how things would go.
Almost every picture on this has come true. We pulled out this dream board and realized how precise some of the photos were – from statues serving as “signs” to the pool surrounded by trees. We knew horses would be involved but certainly didn’t know we’d have a horse farm. Even the veg garden looks like this – wild and full. Most incredibly, there’s a photo (not shown) of some interior guest rooms that weren’t designed by us but incidentally ended up looking EXACTLY like the magazine cut out.
All this to say. DREAM. Dream with God. Make it plain on tablets. Poster boards will do. 🙂
And one more thing, guys, there’s a picture of zebras on this poster. Don’t ask why but the way things are going I’m pretty sure there’s a Zebra in our future. Just sayin’. ~Sheri Bukowski
Sheri wrote this last year toward the end of February. I tripped over it tonight… on purpose, I believe. I needed a bit of grounding and a reminder that all is well and unfolding exactly as it needs to in Divine time. True enough that living another’s dream, even when it encircles my own dream, is a huge responsibility. Reading this tonight reminds me that Steve is still very much here in soul and spirit – prompting, teaching, steering. How fortunate I am.
After two days of water pipes bursting under the house, I tiptoed around this morning listening for gushing water. All quiet. All clear. I tiptoed back through the kitchen checking the view from every window and poured myself a cup of coffee. Suddenly the memory of my father fixing water pipes emerged from light across the room and my body ached with nostalgia. The last Christmas we spent with my dad he spent hours fixing water pipes. As my mind pulled back to the present, my gaze tuned to the land again – backyard frozen, dog runs frozen, barn cat sentry sitting duty at his post in the crack of the door. He would have loved this farm. He would have loved the trees and the creek, the driveway and the deck. He would have cursed the broken fences but merrily stomped his way through the pastures to fix every single one. He dreamed of this.
We are living someone else’s dream and the onus is on us. We must be careful with it. He did not get to walk this property as a flesh-living man would step by step. His presence is ubiquitous and inescapable though, and his spirit fully alive in this place. PEACE is here. Drama is not allowed. Lies are not tolerated. Truth slowly ascends to the surface of souls and weak things are shattered, like glass, the fragility does not go unnoticed. But this place, the place my Father’s presence roams, is a safe place to crack. For in the quiet earth the soul is replenished.
It is a weighty, scary thing to be living someone else’s dream. You want to be worthy of it, worthy of their sweat and blood. You want to be worthy of the inheritance you walk in, the return of their investment. Not everyone has the luxury of living out their dreams on earth.
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance…God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith are not complete apart from ours.” (Hebrews 11)
— withLynn Bukowski.
Sheri Bukowski © 2015 All Rights Reserved
Excerpt from Married to the SEAL Teams: Lessons in Love
“You have the power to heal yourself, and you need to know that. We think so often that we are helpless, but we’re not. We always have the power of our minds. Use your power.” ~Hay
I close my eyes at the exact moment the wheels of the plane leave the runway and let the tremendous roar and rush of power hold me against the seat. One long moment of intense anticipation that feels like us. I like it here, suspended and helpless.
It feels like our last Sunday morning.
From my place on the bed, I narrow my focus and let the bathroom doorway frame you like an object d’art. I watch you shave, content with my coffee and imagination; a story waiting to find its way to the journal on my lap.
I ask, “What does a person feel right before they surrender?”
You angle your head, pull the razor up one side of your cheek, rinse the blade and speak to the mirror, “Helpless.”
“Yes, but what does helpless feel like?”
“Wouldn’t know. Never been.”
I wait for you to finish your morning ritual before I slip off the bed, enter your kingdom and prove you wrong.
Research for a story I may never finish.
Over breakfast that morning we discussed in finite detail the difference between submitting to a lovely helplessness and feeling brutally helpless and while I try to recall our exact words, this memory leaps into another:
I’m hanging from the top edge of four-story scaffolding with hands slick from spattered paint; frozen with fear. You yell up at me, amused, “You climbed up there like a sexy cat. What’s the problem?” When I don’t answer and can’t catch my breath, your voice drops an octave, “Don’t look, just feel… hand grip, find your footing… that’s it…” I make it one story down before I slip and grab wildly and cry out. My heart beats so rapidly I think it’s moving the steel frame, but the vibration is you climbing up behind me, covering me, “Put your hand here, now here, I’ve got you, footing, again…” and your voice changes – striking and intense – Always consider your options, Lynn… you are never helpless.
Right now I am strapped to a seat in a passenger jet with a hundred other souls and what remains of your beautiful body rests on my lap in a wooden box. I cannot fly the plane and I cannot bring you back. Screw my options. If I die in a plane crash, you damn well better be there to greet me and if I don’t die, I’ll continue to long for the day. Of course just thinking such a thought makes me feel badly about killing all the other passengers and my flash of anger deflates into a prayer for you and God to keep us safe.
I wonder now if you sit next to Jesus, boss saints around and discuss options.
I loved flying with you. Always in the aisle seat, you sat like you were ready to pounce. I was content to watch people and whisper their lives in your ear. “The man across the aisle at the window seat clutching his hat. There’s a photo taped inside. It’s a child. He’s rigid with fear; hates his job, hates flying, but the photo anchors him. Loves his family, though, so he’ll keep doing both…” You elbow me gently; flip through the pages of your magazine. I lean closer and whisper, “The young woman three seats up, fidgeting, in the too short dress and the well-worn heels? She’s eyeing the man on the aisle across from her. Watch… she’ll bump his shoulder with her hip when she stands; smile shyly. He’ll get up and follow her.
“Shush…” you say. But when the woman stands and pretends to lose her balance, you close your magazine and watch. And when the man follows moments later, you turn to me with exaggerated scorn and say, “You scare me…”
My intuition was our secret.
When the lights blink on and the chatter begins and the world levels out, I am disappointed beyond reason.
Living constantly requires my attendance.
I always choose a window seat now. I still see stories in people, but there’s no one to tell, so I turn my head away. Perhaps when we lose the one person our secret is safe with, the secret dies too.
“Are you okay?”
The shoulders of the man next to me are too wide to fit properly in the seat. He smells of Clive Christian, has dark thoughtful eyes, and looks remarkably like an older version of Jeff, which astounds me.
I try not to stare, but the resemblance is uncanny. I manage to answer, “Yes, thank you…” while my mind slips to a last memory of young Jeff.
His eyes crystalize with pain, his hands tremble against my forearms; his voice pleads with me, “I… goddammit, I don’t know what to do. Please…”
You lean against the hospital wall a few feet away with folded arms and tired eyes. The twenty-hour fight with Command to bring this young man back to the island from training is over; the battle won, but you still stand sentry.
I had no idea what to say or do, so I say the first words that come to me, “You love each other through this. That’s what you do.” He nodded tersely and slowly released his grip on my arms. Just before he entered the room to be with his laboring wife and their soon to be still-born infant, he turned to me and said, “God help me.”
I say, “He will.” I think, Brutally helpless.
I am still in this thought when the man leans in. I flinch. He attempts to move away, but there is only so much room.
I have this thing now about physical boundaries. I don’t like people getting too close to me. I know it’s hurtful – even to complete strangers – but I think death does this to the living. Touch is too loud and sounds are too fast and I cannot seem to find my bearings.
“You’re crying,” he says.
“Am I?” I reach up and touch my face, genuinely surprised to find moisture.
Slowly, he holds out an offering – a folded white handkerchief in the palm of his hand. I find this charming and old fashioned, but I make no attempt to take it. “Please…” he says.
I take the handkerchief and touch it to my cheeks. I know he wants to engage me in conversation; I can feel it. His energy is gentle and I could easily offer so many simple reasons for tears, but I am suspended between a memory of our last and lovely Sunday morning and a young man’s broken soul. Both are far too intimate to share, so I whisper, “Thank you…” and lower my gaze.
“Relax your grip, honey, you’re safe.” I whisper.
“But I’m falling off the edge of the world…” she says.
I’m staring at my own hands when I realize I’ve placed the man’s wet handkerchief against the box under my naked fingers; a barrier between you and me. I know it’s a ridiculous notion, I know it’s a box, I know these are ashes. In some closet in my mind, though, I’ve put a stranger between us and it is as real to me as your death. He watches as I brush the handkerchief quickly onto my knee. The act feels rude and unkind, but I don’t have the breath to apologize. I need to close my eyes; concentrate through the rising panic and as I do, I notice – perhaps for the first time – how excruciatingly painful it is to have a broken heart.
I’m falling off the edge of the world.
Softly, he says, “I used to be afraid of flying.”
I shake my head no, stare out the window, and grip the box so firmly my hands shake.
I’m not sure why or what I’m holding on to so tightly, but I sense it’s a last and final thread and when it breaks, I need to be ready for impact.
Going numb is a practiced skill. It began the morning after you left and I welcome it now like a new friend. I named it grief and asked it to stay around and come in full force when I need it. I’ve decided I need to stay clear of undiluted joy and sorrow, so numb is my easy. Besides, I don’t think grief is sadness. Sadness has a shelf life; grief endures.
“Precious cargo?” he asks.
“My husband,” I answer. My tone is monochrome, as though you’re waiting for me in First Class. Numb is my easy.
There is an awkward moment of silence before he says, “I’m so terribly sorry.”
I don’t know how or if I respond because my memory is jolted back to Tripler Medical Center and Crystal lying perfectly still on a sterile hospital gurney that seems too short for her tall frame. She is seven months pregnant and looks impossibly young. The infant she carries is no longer living, but the doctors must induce labor and she must give birth. To a dead child. It is an impossibly cruel ending to a precious gift.
She is on her back staring at the blemished square tiles of the ceiling and each time she blinks into the florescent light, silent tears leak down the sides of her face. Any words of comfort I have do not leave my lips. They are flat and empty against the enormity of such anguish. She has held this devastating truth for twenty-four hours waiting for her husband to arrive and with every third breath she turns her head to find me and whispers, “I’m so terribly sorry.”
She is sorry she called on us in the middle of the night. She is sorry we’ve never met before. She is sorry she walked so far three days ago. She is sorry she cried herself to sleep. She is sorry she fought with Jeff on the phone the other night. She is sorry she cannot make friends easily with other wives. She is sorry for staying so long in the sun, wanting to work, leaving the bathroom a mess. She is sorry for crying; for being so weak and helpless.
Dear God, I pray, give me soothing words… No words come. Instead, I turn the light off, place a cool washcloth on her forehead and hold my hand against her cheek to catch her tears. It is the only comfort I can give.
There is a long while when the only sounds in the room are hospital monitors and room ventilation; lonely clicks and rushes of air that seem flippant and vulgar.
When she sighs heavily the sound echoes around the room. I hold my breath.
“Do you believe in Jesus?” she asks.
“Is He here?”
“Holding your baby,” I say, and I am blinded by my own silent tears.
A moment later the hospital room door cracks open and a sliver of light shines over your head as you motion me out to the hallway to meet Jeff.
I still see the light when I open my eyes. The flight attendant’s voice instructing us to prepare for landing seems far away, but I let the practiced words lull me back to the present. I ask the kind man next to me for his address so I can launder and mail his handkerchief back to him.
“Keep it please,” he says, “Perhaps we’ll meet again in our travels.” He looks at me thoughtfully for a long moment, hands me a business card and adds, “I am so sorry and I hope I’m not being too forward, but if you ever need anything, call me. Please consider that an option.”
You know me so well. Of course I need to be reminded of mortality, but not too harshly and with frequent breaks for frivolous distraction. So you send vivid memories that make me believe you must be holding that child in Heaven and plant complete strangers to carry your messages.
I am never helpless.
I nod at the man and attempt a smile. I cannot speak because I have no language for what really happens between you and me now. I can only be a faithful witness.
When the plane lands, the roar of the engines engulfs me, much like one of your hugs; from behind, as though you’ve taken a quick break from eternity while I’m standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes or sitting at my desk drowning in words. You must know I want that hug… with your lips pressed against my temple to let me know I am safe.
Kiss me now, please. Then you can get back to your Heaven.
Lynnette Bukowski ©2015 August. All rights reserved.
In Loving Memory – Extortion 17 Commemorative Cuff designed by LZ-Grace.
A limited number of these custom cuffs were made again exclusively for LZ-Grace (Landing Zone Grace) in loving memory of our 31 heroes killed in action on August 6, 2011.
To ORDER, please visit the donation page at www.lz-grace.com
Direct link: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/lzgll/
Each cuff is hand crafted and made of quality silver and gold plate.
Size: 7” x 11/2”
100% of the proceeds will help to grow LZ-Grace (Landing Zone Grace), a place of respite and renewal for our Special Operation Warriors (from all branches) returning from combat.
LZ-Grace is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. All donations are tax deductible.
In Loving Memory of Those Who Are Forever Present in Our Lives