First and Final Acts: Water as Sacrament

100_2372By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

(A reflection written about water and homecomings- the birth of Isaac three years ago and my mom’s passing ten years ago)

Ringing out the warm wash cloth, I laid it upon her face in my final act of love upon this body that had held my own. Drops upon her lips reminded me of a million kisses upon my forehead and pausing on her eyelids I was struck by the power in a glance pierced with love for me. I washed her this hair feeling beneath it to the scars and bone shifts drawing me back to a dozen surgical waiting rooms. In all its simplicity, water empowered within us a sacrament of love and grief. The water which nourished her life with endless joy and beauty now called her home.

In a handcrafted simple wooden box her ashes dwell as deep as we could dig. To earth she has returned. I sit in the rain watching and envying the pine needles that rest upon her body. Even now, long after death, the water nourishes her. My son waddles over picking up pine cones and rests them on his Grandma Jeanie’s little patch of ground unaware yet blessed just the same.

My love for him came with a big gush of water that had held him close for many months. Rushing over his body and down my legs, water baptized us both in a commitment of love altering life forever. Warm washcloth in hand, I washed the blood from his face giving equal care to learn by heart his soft lips and tiny eyelids. As I bathed this beautiful child with water, I welcomed him home.

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