I never wondered if there were porches in heaven until after I heard my cousin Becky had passed away. There I was on Christmas Eve morning, unable to sleep and imagining she and my mom reunited again. If there’s a back porch in heaven that’s where they are! Sharing stories and laughing. Becky was a porch person. And some of my favorite memories with her happened there.
How do you write about a person who thinks you are some crazy kind of gifted writer? Her confidence in me has always far exceeded my own. But that’s Becky. In fact, she was such a natural “cheerleader” that I had a cheer captain trophy made for her! I saw it on the bookcase in her living room last night, where those of us she has cheered on and loved were gathered. I also saw my artwork she had accumulated since I-can’t-even-remember-when. It’s all over the house. This makes me cry to even type that. If you have been following me, you may have read her comments or reviews. I can’t tell you how many people told me yesterday “Oh! You’re Amy! She gave me ….” And shared about something I had created that she had gifted them. (Well, now I’m in puddles as I write this.)
Back before texting was a thing we would email each other almost daily. I mentioned I thought I might try to show my work or participate in an art show. That’s all it took! She sent me a book about getting out of the boat and stepping out in faith. And from then on, she was always pushing me to use my gifts. I am forever indebted. If you have a painting of mine or if I’ve ever pushed you to use your gifts, Becky is a big reason why.
I have painted eggs for years and said they are like people to me. We are flawed and fragile yet full of potential. New creations. And the feathers I paint represent the memories we leave behind. When I was loading my suitcases into the car this morning, I saw a BRIGHT purple feather laying on the ground and I stopped to pick it up and bring it home as a keepsake. It was from one of the many colorful feather boas worn last night as we celebrated the life and legacy of Becky just the way she wanted us to. As I drove down the driveway I saw more feathers of different colors flittering about with the breeze. To some it may look like a mess that needs to be cleaned up. But I saw reminders of memories I will cherish forever.
Where grief and love have been poured out can feel like holy ground. And for a short time, it feels like heaven and earth are much closer to each another. Now I have a bright purple feather to remind me of one such sacred time and the gift of having my cousin Becky in my life.
If I get to heaven before you do, you know where to find me!