Dear Family and Friends,
In the last few days I have been culling passages from emails and cards to share people's heart-warming comments and some stories about Francis. I plan to read a few at the Tree Planting on Sunday.
I'll send these when I'm finished, but I'm attaching now, at the end of this, another precious Rowan story. You encourage me to continue sharing them. Here is today's:
When Rowan came into our home this afternoon she said to me, "Memere, I wish Pepere could see Bella! I wish he could pet her! "
Bella is Rowan's darling puppy, -- a Golden Doodle -- which she got on her birthday last month. After the party in which I took part as a leader of one of the four groups of Kindergarteners that went on a treasure hunt at Eastern Promenade close to Lynn and Lee and Rowan's home, I returned to drop off some eggs.
All the festivities were over, but there was Rowan sitting on the steps with golden Bella in her arms. I can understand why she would want Francis to see her. Bella, cuddled in her arms gave her face a very soft look that this very active godchild doesn't always reveal. Bright Rowan has a mind of her own, and because of that, the precociousness that yields insights I treasure.
I told that even though Pepere can't pet Bella, because he doesn't have a body as we do anymore, just the same, because he's in the spirit world (the expression she initiated last month) he might possibly see her, somehow.
Then Rowan asked me for a "very good piece of paper" because she wanted to write. So I got her another piece of that slightly wrinkled parchment the art store gave me for her. After she folded it neatly in half, she started writing while I was looking through the condolence cards to cull more comments about Francis. If I looked toward her in the least she told me she didn't want me to peek at what she was writing. But she did ask me how to spell "die." And when I did, she explained she wanted to know how to spell "died," so I spelled that word for her also.
Then when it was finished she gave me her story, and read it to me:
She read the "cover" of this "letter" first:
(The top left had a drawing of a stamp on it.)
For the inside note, she read:
"I AM SO RILY BADLY SARY THAT PAPA (Obviously she meant Pepere) DIeD. i LOVe HIM SO MUCH THAT I CUD CRI. MeMe LOVeD PAPA SO MuCH.
Then partly fighting back tears myself, but also letting myself cry, I told Rowan that it's okay to cry, even that it's good to cry. And it makes us feel better afterwards, I added. And, that our love and the crying go together, I explained. The crying shows how much love we have for Pepere.
So Rowan cried with me by turning her head and covering her eyes as I hugged her.
Then, seeing the cards in a pile on the floor where I sat, she asked me about them. So I explained that I was copying passages to share with people, because they loved Pepere very much.
Then she wanted me to read them to her. So with the two of us sitting on the rug, I opened one after another from the pile of cards I had isolated last night that had comments about Francis in them. She wouldn't let me omit anything but wanted me to read all those notes.
But after 5 or more minutes of reading Hap our contractor and handy-man told us that he had finished fixing the leak in the pond liner, and that if we wanted, we could go outside and empty the bucket full of tadpoles I had brought back from The Children's Center where I picked up Rowan this afternoon.
And so we got up and turned our attention to the frogs in the pond. Rowan delighted on this warm afternoon taking off her shoes and wading in the pond, and trying to touch the frogs.
Earlier while I was reading to her, the trilling frog that had enchanted Francis and me two years ago began to trill. I expressed my awe and told Rowan how Francis and I had opened the glass door so that we could hear all night long this most beautiful sound. Rowan said: "Better than Pepere?" I tried to explain the apples and oranges concept saying that the trilling frog is the very best frog sound I ever heard. And that Francis' voice is also the very best voice sound I ever heard.
When Lee picked up Rowan later and I read him Rowan's note while she played outside with Abigail, our neighbor's grandchild, he told me that Rowan often speaks of Francis.
An additional Rowan story about Francis I forgot to include last month was written while Lynn was telling me about her Easter Vigil dream about Francis. Rowan was eager to hear her dream. But while Lynn related it, and as we talked, Rowan wrote this in the Rowan Journal which I had started to keep in 2006, jotting down some sweet things she used to say, -- the way children do. This is what she wrote then:
I lovE mEme AND PePe WAN PePe HAD A BAC PAN iT WUS A LOUN TiM THeN Hee DiD ROWAN
On another page she wrote this. But let me explain that Rowan loves pancakes, esp. the maple syrup that goes on them. So I've made those for her each week since she was 17 months old. Francis used to give her her own little jug of maple syrup in which he had measured a generous enough amount (but not so generous that she could drink it as she'd have liked to do.) He did this in response to her request for each pancake!
STOrieS Of MeMe AND PePe
PePe UOOST TOO PuOR MAPLL SRUP for Me THAN Hee GOT THe BAC PAN FOR WeecS AND WeCS
TAN Hee DID
Love and Gratitude,