She has lived a long life. She is in her 80s. She was with me when Lydia, my wife and her daughter, died. We have shared so many moments of tenderness and loss. Today she is in hospice and time is about to unfold her timelessness.

When I found out today, I had two thoughts. First, what a remarkable women she is and how she played such a vital role in the lives of Lydia, our children and so many others. The second thought was I know where the spirits of Lydia, Matt, Bryan and her husband, Luke, are right now.

In the threshold between life and death so much of life is lived. The only other moment that equates to the intensity of life ending is life beginning. Birth and death share in their remarkable unfolding. Both bridge the precipice of breath.

When my mother was close to death she looked off into the empty corner of the room. In a chirpy voice says said, “Hi, Luke. Where are Matt and Lydia?” She listened for several seconds and responded, “Well, that makes sense.”

Benjamin - one loss they all come backWe are not alone in that moment between time and timelessness. Others gather. Love draws us all into a space beyond space, a time beyond time. I am thousands of miles away from where Joyce lies in hospice, but I am there. Only our bodies separate us.

I got the word from her dear son, David, that it is only a matter of time. It truly is about time. Life is a matter of time. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all living in a matter of time; and in every moment there is a fine line between life and death.

In my first thought of Joyce about being a remarkable woman was our shared history. Memories collected through some of the most difficult years of both of our lives streamed by. Loss after loss we endured together.

When one loss comes, they all come back. Grief has never been just the sorrow of one loss in isolation. The unfolding of grief happens in the collective. I think about Luke having the massive heart attack on his sixty-six’s birthday and what both she and Lydia went through on that day and the days that followed. I return to Lydia’s death six months later and how just after losing her husband she loses a daughter. I remember her coming to see Matt just before he died and how she loved knowing the deep heartbreak of loss.

Joyce is a strong woman. She lives her faith and is aligned to her beliefs. She serves. Even as she lies in hospice, Joyce serves.

Much of Lydia was much of Joyce. Joyce’s quiet strength was a pillar in the midst of our pain, just as Lydia’s was foundational to our journey of loss. It never escaped me that “the acorn didn’t fall far from the tree” as they say.

This is a day of deep reflection. It is a day of remembrance, of gratitude.

“It is a matter of time,” David shared.  Yes, it is truly a matter of time, and timelessness. It is the threshold where life enters death and death enters life. It is the intersection of love and Love. It is the moment that awaits us all.

I am once again reminded how every life I touch is interwoven into the life I live. Joyce touched me deeply. As they say, she left an impression. She left an imprint that will continue to be apart of me.

I am grateful for Joyce. I hold her in my heart today. And I will carry her in my heart everyday. For I have learned what the heart can hold.

I believe with all my heart that there is only love. And as I carry this ever-unfolding love, I will forever carry the ones I love in the expanse of an open heart shaped by their precious gift of love.

Today I will sit quietly in a room thousands of miles away with the ones I love on both sides of time and timelessness. And we will all honor the passage of time for a very beautiful woman.

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