Grief walks beside me daily. Sometimes its presence is quiet, soft, and non-interfering. Other times, it hits me like a tidal wave, pushing me under the current. Sometimes these bigger waves recede, giving me time to breathe before the next one. Other times, the waves threaten to drown me.
During the current situation, I’ve been focusing on my business, specifically in reconnecting with past contacts from craft shows and vendor events. Some of these people only received an initial Thank You note. Possibly, a few didn’t even get that. When something BIG happens, many things get moved to the back burner. As much as I continued my business through the events of last August, some things fell by the wayside.
Fast forward to the present, in the middle of a global pandemic, that may or may not be all that the media tell us. Events have been canceled. I no longer have an excuse to ignore the pile of contacts from the last five years. These events carry memories with them.
In November 2015, I met a beautiful, smiling 13-year-old Aranza. She greeted me like we’d known each other always. She laughed with me and enjoyed my sense of humor. We joked and shared sarcasm and puns. She trained me in doing shows, and at 13, she amazed me. I think I watched her more than I did anything that day. At 13 years old, her mama could trust her to run a booth – from greeting customers, to demonstrating, to counting correct change! From that day on, when she saw me, she asked about my business – not in a casual way, but in the way someone asks when they know what it takes and they really want to know how you’re doing.
In February of 2017, I did a big show with Aranza and her mother, who had become one of my closest friends. By this time, I viewed Aranza as something like a niece. We continued our banter and enjoying each other’s company during this event. I again watched as she amazed the customers, even making an impression on a young girl, probably about nine, who said, “I want to do this!” I made some great contacts through this event, and in the area for additional shows.
As I entered my contacts from 2017 into my customer service manager, I noticed something that stopped me. Aranza’s handwriting. The unexpected wave crushed me. A life lived to the fullest, just shy of 17 years, cut short by the actions of another. A life that touched so many others, that she made waves instead of ripples. In that moment, my grief was less about what happened, more about missing her presence, but most about Homesickness.
Since August 8, I’ve said Aranza’s fingerprints are in the way I run my business, but here, her literal fingerprints are in my business!
We’ve been listening to the Chronicles of Naria on our trips to and from the Country House. Since we’re listening to the books, we also watch the movies (though they are a poor adaption. Hopefully, Netflix does better). Ella and Aranza sang “The Call” for 4H last year. I didn’t think anything of this until the song started. Once again, a wave crashed over me, but with Narnia’s imagery and parallels, it was even more of that Homesick feeling.
Those we love are only a thought, a memory away. As a Believer, I have a confident expectation of being reunited with my loved ones. In the meantime, fingerprints are everywhere.