I'm awakened by the face of the perfect full moon peering into my bedroom windows. Windows left open for hope of relief from this dying summer heat. Coyotes sing in the distance, taking up the night chorus from the owls who sang me to sleep.
Sleep is gone for good. My head is filled with thoughts of lace - a picture that came to me a couple of days ago that persists and seems to have a message. I get up and stand at the living room window, absorbing the moon's gentle light, aware of the lace being created in my yard by its shadows. The giant fir boughs, the water from the sprinkler, the more delicate patterns of my flowers - all part of the tapestry of moonlit lace. Light and dark. Full and empty. Life and death.
Tabasco has been gone three weeks. He is gone. Dead. Not coming home. The power of my grieving has caught me by surprise. But the power of grieving always does. I am never prepared for the unique pain and emptiness and relentlessness of it.
The hole left in his stead is perfectly Tabasco shaped. His furry bulk, long tail, marmalade coat. No other can fill that particular shape, or the place he filled in my life and heart. I keep checking to see if he's back, and continue to find the hole where he once purred under my chin.
As is my pattern, losing Tabasco has touched other losses in my life. Some old, some new. Some resolved, some not. Some being illuminated more clearly by the pain of this loss, much like the illumination of tonight's full moon. Each loss leaving a pool of darkness, a hole that cannot be filled.
The losses started early - too early. There is a hole where an accepting mommy should be. There is a hole where an adoring daddy should be. There is a hole where innocence should be.
I've spent a lifetime trying to fill those holes with substitutes. And it's only now that I realize truly that they can't be filled. Each has a unique shape, like Tabasco's, that cannot be filled by other love or more attention or fame or success or words or food. There is no comfort for their loss. There is only time.
And the life that happens around the empty places. The silk threads of relationship and love that give shape to the holes and that create a fabric that is whole and beautiful.
On my walks in the park this week with Toby, I've been running into spider webs spun clear across the four foot span of the trail. More air than silk, they are startlingly strong. If the light is just right, I'll see one and avoid walking through it, stopping to admire its symmetry, strength and resident weaver.
Holes are lace. Without the empty places, the shadows, the holes - without those things, lace would be thread. Nothing more.
That offers me comfort. Knowing that the losses are part of the tapestry of my life. A beautiful and satisfying life. A life where a perfect sunrise over Lake Quinault, the return of a friend I thought lost to me, and the memory of a giant orange cat are silk. Silk and shadows. Lace.
Photo by Lynn from Flickr