My dear friend Barbara Robinette Moss died about 10:15 last night, surrounded by her loving and faithful husband, her son, a brother and several friends. Each of us held an arm or a foot and prayed as she slipped away.
I've never known anyone with a stronger life force or more curiosity about the world. When she was still in a regular room, Barb could see a little house hugging the top of the hill outside her window. Going to see that little house up close was near the top of the list of things she wanted to when she got out of the hospital.
I pretty much collapsed on the sofa when I got home and woke this morning, still in my clothes. 6:26 am, dark. One enormous star shined, perfectly centered in the big windows at the end of the living room. I've never seen a star so big or so bright. It rose in the sky, moving higher and higher in the windows.
The darkness seemed to flash and I could see into its depths—millions of pinpricks of light stretching into infinity. Barb's voice filled the room, her Alabama drawl like poured silk. "Don't worry. I've gone on ahead. You can't imagine how beautiful it is here."
I blinked hard. The pinpricks disappeared, but the single star remained, dimming as the sky brightened.
When the star faded completely, I drove to the hill beyond the hospital. Turns out that tiny house is really a mansion: What we could see was the smallest part.