Send me a Sign, Please Send me a Sign

A few weeks before she drew her last breath,

She said, “You know it would be nice to see another spring”

Her patio and her yard were sheer delights to her,

So it was no surprise to hear her make this announcement.

It was more surprising though to hear what followed when she said,

“But then, I think I have already seen spring so I guess it’s okay to miss this next one.”

She knew she was dying and in some incarnate and beautiful way

This took my breath away to realize that someone who loved life as much as she did,

Could actually be brave enough or resigned enough to let it go.

I think it was stunning to me in a way.

 

As it turned out, she died shortly after

Not quite at all how we expected,

When she was still so full of life,

Eating, showering, out and about

And entertaining friends endlessly.

An unexpected stroke took her out

And I was gone those few hours

For which I will never really forgive myself.

But it was the end of January and it had been

A cold and miserable winter

Even though she lived close to the beach.

So I didn’t really think of spring quite then

And in the next two months

It kept being gray and very cold.

I yearned for spring a bit, but I dreaded it as much.

 

Here it is the end of March

And today is the first day

I thought I smelled some spring.

When I got into my car

And opened the windows

For the first time.

I don’t know how to work this Prius very well

It all seems foreign to me.

But I thought I’d figured out

How to keep the radio on NPR,

Which is what I like to listen to mostly.

 

Well today, the radio had run amuck

And while driving, I could not

Get it back to NPR

And off the Bible preaching station

Which I imagine the previous owner had set.

That smell of spring poured into the car now

And I yelled, “Alice, I don’t believe what you said about spring.

I think you just said that to trick me into thinking

You didn’t care about leaving but I’m not sure.”

And then I began yelling and crying at the same time

Demanding a sign or something.

“C’mon Alice! I shouted

“Show me a Cardinal like you kept seeing.

I miss you so much and feel so sad,

I feel all alone so just give me something!”

I had to get the radio off the station it was on now

Because I was in no mood for “Ppppppoker Face”

So I hit Scan and hoped for the best.

And then, THERE it came.

The volume went up by itself

And behold came the voices of

Peter, Paul, and Mary

Singing “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane”

In their finest, clearest version!

I never hear that song, ever!

It is old and gone but oh boy,

This was Alice’s theme song

For her entire lifetime

And usually, she could not bear

To hear it without it bringing her to tears.

 

You see, my father left us so many times

Because he had to, because my mother

Was completely impossible to stay with.

And though we were bereft every single time

We understood him having to leave

Despite our young age.

BUT, when I was 16 years old

And felt so despised

And tortured by my mother

I left too.

And this left 10-year-old Alice

Alone and desperate

And thus, this became her song

Forever more that would always

Remind her of all the pain and all the loss.

 

So yes Alice, I got the message today

And though it made me cry louder and harder

And I yelled, “I’m so sorry” to you over and over

I realized you might just be here with me after all

Because that was way too freaky to have happened

For any other reason.

But in the end,

You’re the one who left

And today is Maundy Thursday.

 

All my bags are packed
I’m ready to go
I’m standin’ here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breakin’
It’s early morn
The taxi’s waitin’
He’s blowin’ his horn
Already I’m so lonesome
I could die

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

There’s so many times I’ve let you down
So many times I’ve played around
I tell you now, they don’t mean a thing
Ev’ry place I go, I’ll think of you
Ev’ry song I sing, I’ll sing for you
When I come back, I’ll bring your wedding ring

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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