—From EF—

Sometimes it’s the little things that surprise, that bring a tear, that suffuse with warmth. After his release from the hospital, it knocked me over to look up and see Conrad washing the dishes. Plunk, one more beautiful piece put back in the heart’s jigsaw. Today Johanna went into a rampage of weeding and revealed that I actually had the last bits of a garden under the waist-high mess I’d let happen, and then she watered the chard that’s still growing and harvested the last of the collards. We ate them.

After two days of shrinking from the challenge, I dug out the router I haven’t used in fifteen years, bought a 45-degree chamfer bit, sacrificed some 2×4 scraps learning how to use it, and made the stair rail’s newel post look classy by beveling the top. When I suddenly noticed some countersunk screw dents I’d missed, Jo just made a funny Italian joke as I grabbed the wood-filler I’d put away five minutes ago. Earlier, when I said I felt odd and not at all like myself, she urged me to go take a damn nap. I finally had the space to let go of it all, and shed the tears I’ve stoppered up for nearly a month.

Our cat, Shadow, who delights in running into a storage closet from which it’s hell to extract him, got past me. For some reason, I just stood in the door and said, “Here, Shadow.” He crawled out of the jumbled piles in the back, came up to the door, and walked out with me.

The man whose job it is to evaluate the need for Home Health Care for discharged patients spent a meticulous hour testing and interviewing Conrad, walking him up and down some stairs, ushering him into and out of the tub, asking what year it is and what day of the week (Medicare cares about this), then said, “You’re too good for me! You don’t need any of this.” When I laughed, he giggled back.

Little things—scraps—made the mosaics in Pompeii, the stunning quilt Jo created for her bed, and the albums CB’s mom kept for every single year of his life. Moments. Big things make headlines; litte ones make a life.

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