Forty-seven years a widow.
Thirty-five years since her youngest child grew up and left home.
Ninety-two years - she's outlived most of her peers.
And yet, she still speaks in community:
"Look! A package came for us!"
"Let's open it up and see what they sent us!"
"Who will do our laundry?"
(Never mind that her laundry for the week
consists of only 1 towel, 2 washcloths, 2 housecoats,
2 nightgowns and sundry undergarments.
All signs of a solitary life.)
She spends her days in solitude,
her nights with hired health-care help.
Her weekends are long, broken only
by a random visitor.
But the heart-kitting work of relationship
never quite fades away.
She still speaks in plural.
I think that I will too.
Photos by my Emily girl, age 14.