le premier jour de gratitude

There is a picture that’s hung on the wall in my bedroom for as long as I can remember, even still today.

blessed art thou among women

I received Blessed Art Thou Among Women as a gift from my uncle about thirty years ago. I’ve often thought what an odd gift it was for an uncle to give his niece, especially one so young. It’s possible he thought of me when he saw this photo because the girl looks so much like me as a girl, but I’ll never know for sure.

For years, I’ve stared at her face and wondered what she saw. I’ve looked at her mother’s hand on her shoulder and her turned cheek, wishing I could just hear the words she whispers. I’ve never stopped wondering about these two. Never.

Forever, visitors have said the same thing, “Is this you? Is this your mother?”

“No,” I reply, “it’s just a picture of a girl.”

Today, it dawned on me. Is it possible that he gave me this because he knew he would die? Could it be that he gave me this everlasting memento, knowing I would never know for sure why? After all, in my unknowing, I’ve never stopped wondering. And my wondering will never let me forget. Because of this photo, my blurry, patched-up memories of him are anchored in my life. They are nailed to my wall.

Right or wrong, today it made a little more sense to me.  And for that, I am grateful. For this photo, I am grateful. For my memories, I am grateful.

Just as I looked into the giant, glowing sunrise this morning and felt energy swell in my chest, just as I filled my ears with the music of my daughters’ songs and felt my daily cup of joy brewing, I will look into this girl’s eyes and feel my heart warm with memories of an uncle long passed.  An uncle I barely knew and never understood, but one whose love still swims in the air around me tonight.

Merci, mon oncle.

à la prochaine

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