In my Daily Light of July 30, is a note that says simply, "Evelyn's Home going 2003." Today, August 9, there are more notes in the margin and I know that this was the day we all gathered to say goodbye.
On those dates and in between, those of us who knew and loved her experienced a roller-coaster of emotions. I remember the call that told me she had gone--this fire-cracker, survivor of a woman who had lately lost the spark that we all thought would never die.
I felt as if someone had punched me in the stomach and I had to be alone--had to leave the crowd of company that was in our home at the time and find a quiet place.
I went out into our garden room--a glass enclosed porch that looks out onto lawns and flower beds--and sat down. It was evening, but the heat of the day hadn't dissipated--it hung in the air. And I remembered her. She who had led all of us a merry chase and who would look at me , head tilted, peering up with one eye closed, and ask, "Am I driving you crazy?"
I would always laugh and tell her I already was crazy.
I remembered watching her at parties, taking advantage of unsuspecting and unprepared guests, reeling them in with uncommon expertise. We were awed at her skills, learned not in a university but an institution. When she used them on us we tried hard to out-think her and sometimes succeeded--but it was always a close call and never a given.
It fell to Miah and I to make "the arrangements." We both loved her, and although there would not be a "viewing," we both wanted to spend some time alone with her at the funeral home. She looked so beautiful, this tiny woman of giant spirit. Her mouth was open as if in soft smiling surprise at an angel's arrival.
We were wrung out with emotion--then Miah bent down and said, "Can you see that?"
I looked too, and we burst into uncontrollable laughing. We could see her name, carefully written on the inside of her dentures--the dentures that so often had gone flying across the room at someone trying to support her.
At that moment the funeral director re-entered the room to find us trying hard to regain our composure. That moment, when pathos and hilarity met and exploded, was so fully "Evelyn" that it felt like her last gift to us.
Mention her name even now, and those who knew her start telling Evelyn stories. Those who didn't, listen and wish they had. Who could wish for a better legacy than that?
In the Daily Light reading for today are verses that seem meant for her:
Song of Solomon 4:7 (New International Version)
7 All beautiful you are, my darling;
there is no flaw in you.
Psalm 45:13 (New International Version)
13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber ;...
Ezekiel 16:14 (New International Version)
14 ... the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.
Until we meet again, Evelyn!