My arrival at home that day had been too late. I could see it when my eyes met my Mothers. I dropped my shopping bags and asked, “Where?” It was Gertrude. She wouldn’t get up. As I approached, calling her name, she raised her head mouth gapping open in her mute state. Anxiously, she rose and stumbled towards me falling again on her limp body’s forgotten fullness. I lifted her assuring us both. “I am here now, baby” leaning in she held me with the reply “I waited for you, Mama. I waited hard.”
There was no use at this point to attempt to save her. It was an understanding too bitter to taste yet, it rose up in my mouth repugnant. There remained only a few moments to hold her and be at one with her beauty. She was concerned for the others. I promised I would help Hildegard with them and with this her final breaths clawed their way through eternity as her green legs kicked in defiance of death.
Our time was indeed short. Our bonds broken by forces neither of us knew how to combat except to hold our hearts closely as she passed from warmth into the darkness. We walked together until reaching the light again. Then, Gertrude flew into the haven of the Summerland. I made my way back through the shades alone and prepared her vessel for burial.
As I sewed the shroud of silk about her still warm corpse, I could feel the majesty of her noble self come alive deep within me. It was a new blessing, a precious gift I melded to my heart’s awareness. I only had salt tears to send with her into the grave. Each night when I go out to feed, I see how readily Hildegard has come to adopt the role of Mother Hen. This brood of odd foul run under her as she did beneath Gertrude. We offer feed to the air and water to the Earth for her each morning and night. I believe she would be proud of how we’ve made sure they all came along so well. Louise laid her first egg only yesterday. I feel it as a sign from my beautiful girl all is well just beyond the shadows of these veils.
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