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We carry them within our bones. It’s no surprise we hear them in our voices.

We carry them within our eyes. It’s no surprise we see their faces in our own reflections.

We carry them within our hands and it’s no surprise, for they long carried us.

I can hear my mother’s emotions in my voice, and see my father’s measured calculations in my whimsy. We are indelibly connected.

Heart to heart, sigh to sigh, sight and sound bring them back, as though they never left.

This time of year, a season of preparation, when the yellows and blues are propped up against the browns and grays—earth against sky—heaven reaches down to meet us, and I wonder if winter’s bare bones are aware of summer’s splendid flora as it awaits spring.

I turn my head slowly and can now see with clear definition what I had not once realized was always right there in front of me, this unfolding beauty. I have lived many years to learn how to slow down in order to see this way.

Pushing past my memory to the reality of now, I see that what is past, is here with me in the present. They are two parts of a whole.

On November 3, 2011, three days before she died, there was one moment I realized my mother would never see me dance again—that mattered at that moment. I remembered the music and her face as she watched me one day, taking the movement into herself.

I laid beside her in my sadness, silent, and she said, I never told you how beautiful it was to watch you dance with your students that day I came to your class.

We were sharing the same moment at the same moment as we were staring into life and death together. We connected the two.

I see her face, her glow, and she is smiling. She is no longer preparing to say goodbye, but instead reminding me in that memory, that we are together, that she still hurts when I hurt. She is still the one who understands best my smiles and my tears.

I look down at the lines and patterns years have created on my hands and see her hands. I carry those hands within me. I hear in my sigh, the release of her grief, and here within me too, is the cadence of her voice.

I lift my eyes from my paper and see that the sun has sketched leaves across the window shade—an imprint of life on canvas. Lives imprinted on lives, love lingers and outlasts.

The leaves fade as the sun shifts and I know the present moment we just shared is about to become the past, but it will move forward within me, as will she, as will you, and I offer my thanks.

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