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Life comes at you fast...

Though this phrase is used by an insurance company, it's been running through my head over the last week. We're at the beach celebrating Ivan's graduation from Reidsville High School. We walk our tiny dog, Nico, early in the morning and watch his utter joy and abandon in a new day, one we've never seen before. He has never seen or smelled such a wide array of dogs! German Shepherds, Schnoos, Mutts, Schnauzers, even an Ole' Decrepit!

It was just yesterday that Ivan and I went to DC to spend time with Olivia in her new apartment near American University. We took a long walk in Rock Creek Park, rode the metro, visited the farmer's market in Dupont Circle. And we ate a most delicious breakfast sandwich. It was just yesterday, Ivan and Olivia were holding hands in the Target parking lot as we were buying linens for her dorm room at UNCG in 2016. It was just yesterday she graduated from Enka High School. It was just yesterday we moved to Reidsville from Candler. It was just yesterday, Ivan was graduating from the Pre-K program at First Baptist Church in Shelby...that was in 2008. You get what I mean.

Life does come at us fast and it seems to get faster and faster. I imagine Ivan's next four years at UNCG will be lightning flash. Not that I want to slow life down, I do want to record it. I do want to savor it-- let it melt in my mouth like the peanut butter cups made with dark chocolate I've just discovered. I eat two most mornings in my basement study cell as I drink coffee and try to pray. Holding the cup, though it may be full, I ask God to fill it until it runs over. So God has more than enough to give to others through me. Yes. Even me.

In the basement last Friday, I found and brought up three ring binder albums my Mom has made our family over the years. Her desire to record our lives with pictures, theater and concert flyers, school award ceremonies, church bulletins makes so much more sense now. We opened the pages and saw Mimi and Happy and how hard they have tried to be present for all our kids' special events, even from the distance of Rome, Georgia. Pictures of Happy and Mimi with Olivia and Ivan took on deeper meaning now that Happy is dead. We are so grateful that Joe's sister, Susan, brought Mimi all that way for Ivan's Graduation! It's been a mere nine weeks since the heart of the Tarpley family stopped beating. The impact of that statement alone gives me comes at us fast.

I don't want to miss life as it flashes and snaps by like a fast forward button. Because life comes at us fast, I want to remember that though our lives are common, as a family, we are experiencing all the vagaries and varieties of life experiences, just like everyone else. Our lives are also singular. I want to say all my life, though it came at me fast, I've been a bride, married to amazement, soaking in each moment as the sand magically absorbs each common, singular wave...

"When Death Comes"
When death comes like the hungry bear in autumn; when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse to buy me, and snaps the purse shut; when death comes like the measle-pox when death comes like an iceberg between the shoulder blades, I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering: what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness? And therefore I look upon everything as a brotherhood and a sisterhood, and I look upon time as no more than an idea, and I consider eternity as another possibility, and I think of each life as a flower, as common as a field daisy, and as singular, and each name a comfortable music in the mouth, tending, as all music does, toward silence, and each body a lion of courage, and something precious to the earth. When it's over, I want to say all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. When it's over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument. I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

-Mary Oliver

Grace and Peace, Veranita

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