It was a warm December 3rd like today, only it was a Friday, instead of a Monday, and the weather was a delightful surprise instead of a wildly fluctuating (and disturbing) norm.  She remembers large swaths of grass in the backyard, and the color green beneath the melting snow.

She had already tried to reach her husband, and two of her sisters, but no one was there. Texting and Facebook didn’t exist yet; and email wouldn’t lend the immediacy that this long-awaited news deserved.

She resigned herself to her aloneness and opened the birthday gift sent by a childhood friend. They had been together that August when an old favorite came on the radio and they swooned in appreciation.  She rushed the cd to the stereo and forwarded it to Landslide.

I took my love and I took it down…

After the first delicious play, she wanted more.  She hit the repeat button and flung open the French doors and stepped outside…

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?

The test sat on the counter beside the bathroom sink where her husband would find it, but for now she danced. She opened her arms and twirled like a girl…

So, take my love, take it down
Oh climb a mountain and turn around

She hadn’t known then how much more this song could mean; that her birthday would usher in one of the most challenging years of her life…

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you

That following August she would give birth to a healthy boy, but that blessing would be eclipsed by her mother’s diagnosis…

Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

She would travel three-hundred miles to sit beside her as she took her last breaths and the new baby cried…

And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Till the landslide brought me down

This song would be sung at the funeral, a capella, and would forever span birth and death in her heart and mind…

But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too

The new baby, 12 years later.
The new baby, 12 years later.

(Kelly Salasin, December 3, 2012)

The Stream of Love

photo by Robin Salasin Cramer

It’s funny to think that exactly 21 months after my birth, to the day, another baby came into being–just for me 🙂  Though our paths didn’t cross for some time, shifts were already taking place to weave our lives together–me at the sea, he in the city, New York.

21 years later, we celebrated his “birth” day together for the first time, and soon afterward, he became “mine.” Today, he turns 45.

It was on his 35th birthday, a decade ago, that my mother died, weaving our lives together even more–so that each year requires me to thread loss with gain–as if there is no separation between the two.

I haven’t quite mastered that lesson, but I’m on my way.  If I can reclaim this grievous day of my mother’s passing as one of celebration of the gifts that her life (and his life) bring to me, I will truly know love.

Circle around Mom, with new baby/photo: Robin Salasin Cramer.

This is a journey that began the summer she was dying when the blessing of a long-awaited child grew inside of me. This baby arrived “early” and my mom departed “late” so that their paths would cross for all to see–that life and death are from the same stream.

Bonnie Kelly Salasin Bradley, December 25,1942-September 8, 2000


The birthday boy & me sharing a September dance. Photo: Robin Salasin Cramer

to be continued…

Kelly Salasin