Last night, after a very sudden illness, the Mister's brother died.
The last four days have been surreal and we have not even begun to really understand what happened. And, yet, there is one thing I am completely grateful for: being a woman.
As four women stood around him as he prepared to leave us (and, honestly, the Mister was there so we can make him an honorary woman), I realized something amazing: women are there to bring life in and we are there to hold hands as it leaves. What a gift. No man can understand the fullness of this wonder.
Think of it.
We alone know the life coming from us. It is the one true time we are the vehicle for God's greatest miracle. Women alone can know the intimacy of that life: we feel it; we talk to it; we love it long before it has a face.
And, on the other end of the chain, women alone are the ones who stand in service and preparation for life to leave. We are the nurses, caretakers, preparers (until modern times when the undertaker undertook our responsibility), and planners. We make sure the life is remembered fully and, we carry in our hearts the memories of watching that life leave.
As our dear one left yesterday, he opened his eyes and looked one last time at the first face he ever saw. Somehow, it was fitting and proper. It was sacred.
This is my favorite song. You will recognize the voices as they are the girls from the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou." Enjoy.