It is Tuesday morning. The day of our mother’s celebration of life.
I am sitting at my desk, working on finishing touches to the powerpoint of her life. I had been struggling with the second song to go with the photos. My brother-in-law had asked that I ensure we use Edith Piaf’s Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, which my sisters and I all agreed was perfect. I didn’t want to play it twice (the presentation was 4 and a half minutes long) but ‘the song’ hadn’t come to me.
Until 5 am that morning when I heard a voice whisper in my head, “What about Esther and Abi Ofarim’s version of In the Morning?”
I got up and began working on finding a version I could download and include.
Around 8, when my sister, Anne, got up, I played it for her.
Immediately, tears started to flow and she agreed. It was perfect. We had sung and danced to that song when living in Europe and later, whenever my daughters were with us at my eldest sister’s home for dinner, we would play it and we’d all dance and we’d tell stories of our ‘growing up years’.
We were not dancing this morning. But my sister and I were moved by the song and its capacity to transport us back through time.
And that’s when the magic happened.
As Anne is listening, eyes closed, tears streaming down her face, I looked out the window in front of my desk and saw him.
I’m pretty sure he’s the same one I wrote about on January 30th, my youngest daughter’s birthday. This time, he doesn’t just glance up and move off, he stands at the fence that separates our yard from the riverbank and watches me closely.
It is as if he too is listening intently.
My sister and I watch. He watches back. A long time.
And then, he turns and walks slowly away.
It’s then that we see her. She is waiting slightly upriver. Hidden in the trees. His companion. His partner. His soulmate.
My sister and I watch the two coyotes lope off through the trees together.
We are both crying.
In the big tin box I have of mum’s keepsakes, the box Anne and I have been going through for photos for the powerpoint, there is a stack of letters and poetry dad wrote to her during WWII after they were married. In his missives, he often called her ‘kid’ or signed off with, “Cheerio, kid.” He also promised that, no matter what, he would be coming back to India for her. And in 1945 after the war ended, he did. Come back for her.
I wonder now if that lone coyote was also a sign. Our mother was growing tired. The signs were there. She was becoming more and more weary of this life on the earthly plane. Dad was waiting for her.
During the war, our mother waited patiently to be reunited with her beloved Louis. He died almost 25 years before her and she believed with her heart of hearts that they would one day be united.
On Tuesday morning, two coyotes loped off through the forest that lines the river in front of our home. One stands hidden in the trees, waiting patiently. The other comes and stands outside my window. He is listening and watching. And, when he turns to go I hear a voice say, “Cheerio kids. “I’ve got her. She’s safe.”