I’ve lost friends and family members to death before, but it wasn’t until Kathy died that I realized how much of my own life story went with her. When she died, knowledge of me died, too. It wasn’t the big things—lots of people know the big picture. It was the little details that fill in the nooks and crannies of who I am. Like marigolds. I love the smell of marigolds that remain on my fingers after deadheading them. It’s a tiny detail that happened to come up once when Kathy and I were talking, and I realized then that it was an intimate detail.
When she died, no one else knew about that. I became aware of that loss when I planted marigolds this spring, and deadheaded them for the first time. I have since shared this particular detail with Ken, but it only occurred to me to do so because I was freshly aware that the primary keeper of my memory was gone. It got me thinking about other things that Kathy and I shared, some of which can pass with her, and others of which I may want to entrust with others.
As we age and lose more and more of the people close to us, I am realizing that it is the loss of the person as well as our memory that goes with them that is part of our sadness. I believe that we all long to be known. We have our warts that we’d just as soon not see the light of day, of course, but I believe that, more often than not, we want someone to know us and see us down to our nooks and crannies.
I have now entrusted my love for the smell of marigolds to each of you. You may not remember it in future days, but at least the knowledge has been released to the universe, and I can be content with it being “out there.”
Bless you all, your nooks and crannies, and all the things about you that we know and have yet to discover.