I arrived back from my aunt's funeral around six. We'd planned to rent a pontoon all day, enjoy the lake before camping. That didn't happen, but death comes when it comes, nothing to be done about that. My aunt was a wonderful woman, and despite the Pick's disease that robbed her of her speech, what I remember most from her was conversation.
I returned from the airport still in my funeral dress and immediately changed to camping gear. We managed to pitch the tent and get down burgers and s'mores before the rain came. In my grief I went straight for sleep, but within a few hours I awoke in a puddle where the tent leaked. My daughter slept through hours of thunderstorms when my husband and I sat stark awake, hands pressed against the leaky tent walls, wanting to make it to morning for her on her first night in a real tent.
When the thunder peaked, she awoke and hid in her sleeping bag, and I pulled her down to me on the mat off the cot and felt that feeling a mother feels when comforting her young no matter what the age.
That feeling might be the meaning of life.
I woke this morning with the tent rocking in a 20-mph wind, but in the midst of my grief and exhaustion was the memory of comforting my girl with my physical self against the wind and rain, and the knowledge I would not let anything come between her and me.