Sunshine & Starlight


I walked up to their house in a hurry. I was about 10 minutes later than planned.

My DD opened the front door – I was greeted by his Mini Aussie, named Ring and a strong, loving hug – the hug I’ve missed along this road. He felt better today since he was going to be able to get some fresh air.

Everybody needs to be able to breathe.

I rounded the kitchen bar and saw such a smile, eyes that instantly lit up to see me in her home, finally this morning. She wore one of her nice cardigans… nicer than a cardigan… for warmth.

I’m not sure how long she’d been awake, but she’s always waited for us grandkids – eagerly excited.

I got the run down of her pain medications.

And DD left us to be alone.

We talked at the table for a little while.

I reminded her to breathe through her nose, the oxygen, as much as I thought to.

I saw her eat something that was more than liquid for the first time in a while. My heart smiled deep beneath its surface – the walls I’ve surrounded it in with this devastation – strong walls. She will be the only one to be able to knock them down.

We got her set up in her recliner for a rest. Her phone, her book, her blanket, her oxygen.

Ring checked on her. He’s become very protective of his mom, no matter that we’ve all known him since he was a small puppy.

I closed the door. And she said:

“No, no, leave those open. I want to be able to hear that you’re here.”

Like she used to say when we were kids and she laid down..

We would play and laugh in the other room with her door open, she was resting. I never knew how she could rest with us being so noisy.

Little did I know how happy our laughter and voices brought her such joy.

“Joy – when you smile before you know you’re smiling.”

Defined by my Mimi, within the past few weeks.

I sat down in the main living room, turned on the TV, turned on my phone and iPad game to distract me.

I talked to Ring. He stretched as if to say “I won’t hurt you. You’re ok.”

My Mom and Dad arrived and we greeted each other with hugs. My Dad had to talk my DD into leaving Mimi for a little while longer, but he promised my Mom would also stop by to sit with her.

My Dad took his Dad, my DD, to Waffle House.

And my Mom and I sat to speak for a little while.

I realized how many times I’ve been to my grandparent’s home, but I’d never looked around…

Such treasures. Red birds and more from her mother. Some pieces from his parents too, I’m sure. I only met her Mom, and she was just as special as the daughter she raised, my Mimi.

I realized how many pictures she has hung on the wall – of the past, the days of no worries, the days of just being together.

I secretly and quietly walked around to each picture that she felt was special enough to hang on her wall, and I took pictures of them with my phone.

Her family has always been her most sacred possession.

We each have spent so much time with her that we consider her our second Mom. My Mother has known her since she was 15 years old. She’s always been such a sacred possession to us too.

After my mom started working around their house, laundry, trash… those sorts of things… I heard her faintly and weakly call my name. (She would never hope that I knew how weak she truly is. But I know. We all know.)

I ran to her and she started to brighten up again. Her face lit up all the way as my mom followed behind me and their eyes met together. Ring sat at her feet, so all they could do to say hello was hold hands as their bodies stayed far apart, me and Ring between the two of them.

I walked her to the bathroom, and I sat down in the floor and talked to Ring. He stretched again: “I won’t hurt you; you’re ok.”

I helped her gather her belongings as my mom warmed her some homemade tomato soup… she loves tomato soup.

My Mom and I got some time alone with her before the men got home. We talked to her as she ate her soup, and I reminded her to breathe through her nose as I thought to.

Many topics came up randomly, including her funeral.

We asked her about her home hospice doctor.

She said she would need her chest cavity drained once more before the weekend.

She lost her breath. Gasping, she held the left side of her chest, and we told her “shhh, it’s ok. Breathe.” She said “look away – you don’t see anything!” as she raised her left arm to expand the space her lung had to fill up. She doesn’t want us to see her hurt.

I gave her the second round of pain medication.

My Dad returned first as my DD went to pick up Mimi’s prescriptions, and we talked.

She thought quickly through the items in her home that she wanted to give away to her family, and she offered them to us, of which a thank you will never be enough.

I hugged her as she sat at the chair in the kitchen at the breakfast table. She teared up. I knew because she pushed me away and quickly said “no tears, no tears.. [pause, breath]… ok” and began to orchestrate her finger through the air as if directing a symphony. She began to hum a melody, but the words struggled to come to her. She replaced the verse with 🎶 “Do do do”s 🎶 and then the chorus came to her head, which made her smile, and oppositely, I teared up as she sang: “ tears in Heaven… there’s no tears in Heaven…”…

I stopped her. I was about to cry like a baby.

She gave me the china plate settings that belonged to her mother.

DD walked in as we were putting our things in bags to carry them home with us.

“Have you eaten?” “Yes, yes tomato soup.” He turned to my mom: “did you get her some crackers? She needs them for her stomach.” (We didn’t know that she wanted crackers with her soup, and she didn’t know either, but my DD knew. Oh that made me smile.)

What a marriage to admire. They’ve been best friends for 60 years, married for 60 years.

We all stood around the kitchen bar, facing her as she sat at the table.

I made them coffee for the next morning, and my mom was tending to their laundry.

My dad and DD’s expressions just as they spoke together of normal things, I will never forget. Somber.

Mimi stated randomly as she rememered: “[My Dad], you and your sister will have to figure out who wants the piano, and who wants to take some jewelry.”

I’m not confident what jewelry she spoke of, but I knew that she spoke of the beautiful wooden piano that had been at their home since before I was born… it caught us all off guard.

I’m not sure if DD had been in on the plan to get rid of such possessions or, by seeing his far off in the distance stare, if he just didn’t want to be included in the conversation. None of us want to think about receiving anything… though we had already.

She asked which my Dad would rather inherit, which he would rather have, he wasn’t going to answer… he didn’t say a word. My mom told her: “Mimi, we would rather have you.”

More time passed. More talking. We took pictures with her, my DD and each of my immediate family… my sister would get a picture with her and a visit after she got off of work later the same day.

We hugged. I watched Ring as he watched me hug Mimi as tightly as I could.

He was ok with it.

I held her as long as she could hold me and as tight as I could without hurting her more than she already was.

And I heard a song on the way home that was more than beautiful to me at that moment, and forever will be when I hear it again and again…

“Starlight” by Richard Walters

Sing that old song we love.

Breathe in all these August words.

And man,

man you should have been there…


And man,

man you should have seen us,

When we were kids…

The world keeps going forward like she does.

The planets light the way –

I need more time.

I need more starlight.☀️✨

Oh come over to my side.

Greet in all this ocean light.

And man,

man you should have seen us –

when we were kids.

And man,

man you should have seen us –

back in our place.

I need more time.

I need more starlight.☀️✨

The world goes by,

It keeps on moving…

The planets light the way –

I need more time.

I need more starlight. ☀️✨

Listen to this beautiful and meaningful song here ☀️✨

She will forever be my sunshine, my starlight, my moonlight, and anything that lights up my darkness – anything that makes me smile before I know I’m smiling– anything that brings me joy,

I know I will always find her there, in the happiness of the world, always in the light.



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