Our parents die. They sprout from the mother and cast silken threads into the breeze and land lightly into our pathways and pasts. They plant tiny terra cotta windowsill pots with our likeness and blow. Sometimes you see them resplendent in the sun, sometimes colored by the prism of imperfect glass, sometimes hear their thoughts above the chimes. Sometimes you see them reflected, and sometimes you see them on the other side, standing on the weathered floorboards of the porch, where they touch their fingers to the door and freeze in time, while you awkwardly wiggle your roots and blush at the shamefulness of your swollen calyx.
They sometimes die without knocking, and as you shake the pollen from your hair, it fills the footprints they left outside your bedroom window, beneath the canopy of wisteria. And sometimes your sleep is disturbed by a flash of light, and the hint of sulfur lets you know they left with your image burned onto a glass plate, and they leave with you graven in time, and cast their silken threads once more, too light to carry, but light enough to guide.
Our parents die, and sometimes it is quiet and long ago, and you can shape your arbor any way you please. Mine blew away in 1979, and my sister, who a day ago hired the services of a private investigator, found that he died years ago, indigent, back in Arkansas. There is not much else to know about him and the shifts and patterns of his 56 year wayfare.
What I understand about religion is that it sings of our desire for transformation. We want to let go without letting go. We want to fly and swim and run in new bodies. We want this for those we have loved, and we want that it be granted by light or grace or goodness. Sometimes we can want this for others. We can want this for those who have forgotten us, and pretend that we are grace, spread our wishes upon their dusty bones, grant them lightness and silken tendrils and let go.