Laura's room has become a kind of sitting room for us. Nearly everything of Laura is still there: her collections, her books, stuffed animals, clothes and shoes still at the ready and, on display, many items from and about her life. She had a good little television and we often all gathered there to watch something together, and still do. There's a trio of photos propped up on the white chest in her room and every night when I turn off her little Hello Kitty lamp there, I say good night to her, speaking to those photos, including this one of her as a smiling 7 year old.
It's been raining and misting on and off for days now. What I used to call the "Misty Days", a brief season that we have most Novembers, that I was always eager to point out to the girls when they were young, and the occasion to quote them a favorite poem, "The Mist and All," by Dixie Willson.
Early November is the time the Japanese Maples around our yard seem to transform overnight from a somber shade of olive to a brilliant shades of red and orange. All of Laura's growing up years, she would have glimpsed the fiery color through our windows and admired it around our yard.
In the tangled garden, there's still a few roses blooming as well as snapdragons. And in the woods around our yard, the Witch Hazel are in bloom.
I wasn't going to go there but I will. It was two years ago that we slogged through the flooded roads, on a very rainy November day, fearing with the traffic we would miss the show Laura was so eager to see but we did make it, finding after long delays on NJ roads and at the Tunnel, that in the last stretch our travels proceeded quickly, that we could make our way unhindered through the rainy streets of Manhattan, amid lights gleaming everywhere on the wet pavement, to reach the theater and with helpful assistance getting us to our seats, sit down, somehow dazed that our luck in traveling had turned around so quickly, for although the show was already underway, we had not missed much. Yes, the show was Wicked. If we were all soon transfixed by the show, I'm not sure what word describes listening to Elphaba singing "For Good." Did I know somehow then what that song would come to mean to me or was it that Ana Gasteyer as Elphaba rendered it so extraordinarily, or both.
Well, read on, if you willing to have a mist in your eye, for below is a portion of "For Good" which you will remember was read at Laura's Memorial Service, that was to come, astoundingly, only two months later:
"It may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
by being my friend
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you...
because I knew you...
I have been changed for good..."