Gabriel was memorialized today. My parents went along. That way I didn’t have to drive. And it also meant Anna could come along but not have to sit through the service after the long drive up north.
The service was nice. It was good to see Joanna. She was wearing the shawl my mom and I had knit for her. I told her that she was welcome to join Paula and me when we get together over Thanksgiving, assuming the schedules work that way.
It was crowded, and we didn’t know anyone else in attendance. Since we had an equally long drive back home, we left shortly before they finished setting up for the luncheon. I went to the bathroom while my parents headed to the car with Anna.
They had barely made it outside when they were approached by a little girl with fly-away curls. It was Joanna’s daughter. She told my mom that the baby wanted to hold her hand. My mom crouched down so that Anna could sit on the pavement under the awning.
Actually, E went on, the baby really wanted to hold both hands. And she took both of her hands. And they held hands and smiled at each other. And E gave Anna a kiss.
She didn’t know who my parents were. She didn’t know who I was. She didn’t know who Anna was. But E sensed the connection.
A big sister who no longer has a little brother. A little sister who no longer has a big sister. Holding hands as though they’ve always known each other.