I was just 10 years old when I moved into my childhood home. The first people we met (other than the sellers who were there to welcome us) were our new neighbors, John and Laura Scales. That was 30 years ago. Over that time Laura watched me grow into a young adult. She was very old fashioned and believed that it took a village to raise a child. So every time I was being mischievous, she would tell my mom. I would be on my best behavior because I knew Ms. Scales was watching. Over the years she remained a part of the family that we communicated with across the fence. My mother had contemplated getting security fencing around our yard. Laura was devastated. She told my mom that she would miss talking to her. Even though it would be easy enough to just walk next door, my mom decided against the security fencing just because. That little act meant so much more when Laura became a widow several years ago.
Last fall and winter we noticed that we were not seeing a lot of Laura. When the spring came and we did not see her, we began to worry, until one day she happened to be outside. That is when she told my mom she was sick. Her eyes were as yellow as egg yolks. Cancer had began to ravage her body. That is when my mom decided that she needed to check in on Laura daily. Laura was a widow, all of her family lived in Virginia except her only son who lived nearby but worked a lot. My mom knew Laura could not be alone. We later found out that Laura was on Home Hospice. It was heart breaking, but we were able to talk candidly about life and death. Mother’s day weekend my mom, my children and I spent a lot of time with Laura. We were planting flowers in our yard at the time, but made sure to go over to be sure Laura was fed and had a bit of company. It was very warm outside. I believe it was about 75 degrees that mother’s day when we asked Laura to come outside. She didn’t want to because she was always cold. We made sure she was fed. Spent a few hours laughing, smiling and crying and then my mom and I left to finish planting flowers in our yard. A half hour later, Laura came outside with two sweaters and a jacket on. She sat in a sunny spot in her back yard. We were so happy that she came out that my mom went to join her, and I went to get my camera.
I started taking pictures of Laura and my mom, sitting and talking and simply BEING. Suddenly, Laura began to wave goodbye to me. I said, “Laura, I am not leaving. I am coming over to join you.” In that instant my mom directed my attention to a Crow perched high in the tree of my other neighbor’s yard. It was a beautiful sight perched high, stoic and sleek. The sight of it moved me and touched my soul. At the time I didn’t know why, but then it was gone just as quickly as it appeared. I then went over and joined Laura and my mom for a little bit.
Later that evening, still moved by the sight of the Crow, I googled the meaning and found that the Crow is sometimes interpreted as a symbol of death. How could it know that in a month’s time Laura would not be with us? It wasn’t my last time seeing Laura, but maybe that was her way of saying goodbye.
Hug someone you love after reading this. Take a picture and live in that moment.
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