My friend Carolyn wrote recently to tell me that she saw a cloud formation in the sky a few nights ago that reminded her of Georg. She wrote, “the cloud was in the shape of a sail, just like one of Georg’s sailboat sails formed by this very thin veil of clouds which looked like it was floating in a sea of blue sky.”
I could just picture it, and it made me happy when she said at the end of her email, “I think Georg is playing with the sky.”
I hope so.
Time continues to march on, and Georg has been gone longer and longer. This does not seem to change the grief. I expect it will, someday. But so far, no such luck. I can forget about the fact that he is dead for long stretches of time but it will come back to me at odd moments and when it does, the awareness of his absence is like running into a brick wall.
I ran into it the other day when I got a nice letter from the Veterans Service Office in Sheboygan, explaining that they finally had all the paperwork in order and could try requesting burial benefits for Georg. I had to sign and date a bunch of papers and return them. I cried the whole time. The woman writing to me said she couldn’t promise anything, since Georg wasn’t buried.
That is correct. He is not buried.
Meanwhile, I also ran into a different part of the wall the other night on the way home from work. Often, driving home on the country roads between the college and my house, I see gorgeous late afternoon sun effects bouncing off fields or illuminating barns. These vistas are often breathtaking, but I never stop to take pictures. I am usually in too much of a hurry. I tell myself to just remember the beauty.
But the other night, the sky was so gorgeous, it had the feeling of Georg in it. I had to stop. I took some pictures. I could have taken more. Every few minutes, the sky changed. I hadn’t received Carolyn’s email yet, but looking back in hindsight, I would say that if it wasn’t Georg playing with the sky, someone was. I caught the dance of color and light at this particular moment. I would have liked to catch more, but I had to get back in my car and keep going. Just know, there was a lot more beauty that followed until the sky went dark.