Time is the hardest part of mortality. Time moves on relentlessly whether we go quietly or rage in desperation. We parcel it into clicks on a clock and squares on a calendar. We save fragments of crystal moments to reassure ourselves the moments were true, we did live, we did love, we did matter.
Time, not to be outdone, asserts its power. A sudden freak accident hits a boy in the head with a hockey puck and his memories are suddenly gone. Alzheimer's wraps its tendrils around a woman's brain, leaving her daughter mourning their lost moments.
Today I held my grandma's sacred fragments, sorting them from the clutter that comes from living, knowing that something would be lost. Matchbooks from favorite places, keys to unknown locations, a broken tape recorder with an unheard message, silver watches, childhood games, and the bullets my grandpa left behind when he died years before.
Like my grandma, I gather fragments of special times. A lock of my baby's hair, flower petals that smell of summer, love letters and stuffed animals, crayon scribbles and notes from my children, pictures of people and places I love, ticket stubs, and feathers. Sacred to me, but worthless to those who don't know their stories.
At the lowest point of my life, I prayed for the courage to choose life. As I walked off the pier, a feather fell from an empty sky. A feather of faith.
Whenever I reach those moments, feathers follow me throughout the day. I smile in delight and feel my faith renewed. Even in my darkest hours, I am never alone. My guardian angel watches over me with a few less feathers. I carry it inside and place it tenderly with the others. Sacred fragments of faith that will someday sit in someone's hand as they try to sort my life.