wedged between birth & death . . .

sweet baby aria

When Larry and I were getting ready for our Big Bohemian Wedding in Austin last May, our neighbors on one side were preparing for the arrival of their sweet baby girl, Aria. The big brown UPS truck with squeaky brakes would pull up outside our house and drop two to three large boxes on their front porch nearly everyday. They were playfully battling over what name was appropriate for their little Texan on her way. She is a Francophil and wanted the name Amalie; he wasn’t having anything to do with that. Aria is a great compromise.

All the while, our neighbors on the other side were struggling with news of a lymphoma diagnosis. Her parents arrived to take care of their 2-year-old while she succumbed to a brutal bout of chemotherapy treatments that latest months. We only saw her occasionally after arriving home from the treatments and being carefully escorted from the car to the house a tiny shell of the woman she used to be, scarf over her head, and sallow face. I prayed for her recovery and painted her a painting that came through me intuitively. There was a bleak, exhaustion emanating from that side of our house and my heart held them quietly, unobtrusively in love.

We are not close to either of our neighbors although they are only six feet away on both sides. They will not be reading my blog (I chose not to use their names). However we are friendly with both of them and truly like them but I think they are not so sure about us when we dug up our front rose bushes and planted an urban garden that quickly took over the entire yard. Or when we moved the air conditioners up to the second floor balcony and put a pool in the tiny space that is our backyard. Or maybe it was painting our house in colorful colors that definitely stand out. Who knows?

Despite this I couldn’t help but feel the strange juxtaposition of our life events sitting side by side. I felt wedged between beginnings vs endings, birth vs death, growth vs depletion and abundance vs scarcity. All the while we were planning for our big luscious matrimony with the intention of deepening our roots in ourselves, each other, our family and our community of friends. Reading our houses from right to left (like the Chinese) it’s the cycle of life; birth, the richness of life and then death (death to the cancer, not to her).

our house in the middle

Today we sit between the proud parents of sweet baby Aria and a family with a cancer free mom on her road back to full recovery and Larry and I are deeply rooted in ourselves, each other and our ever-expanding community.

Life just happens doesn’t it? And then we make a stew, take our kids to school and walk the dog; someone dies and then a baby is born.

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