Ila's piano sits in the basement. I can
play by ear, but
reading music, I'm slow.
I sometimes forget
here in the house
waiting for someone to make it work
like the jars in the canning room
the roses and iris
and garden bed.
Tonight, I lifted the piano bench and found Ila's music books there. A Spring band program from 1971. A note from a brother to a sister: "You'll do fine."
And I think of Ila getting dressed to see her daughter's program 40 years ago, putting on her perfume (I've found the tiny, empty bottles), and after it was over, placing the program in the piano bench with his note of encouragement. This is love still happening, one that hasn't stopped even though the lid of the bench has been shut for so many years.
In all these three or four years of living here, I hadn't thought to. Look here.
There are things in the attic I've never seen. I've never been up there because in my mind, that is still their space. And the things in "my own home" that I've never laid eyes on before, they sometimes appear in my dreams, the past still present, here in their home. Last week I dreamed I went into Ila's attic and some warm, clean glow surrounded the toys and quilts and Christmas decorations. There is a chain that hangs from the ceiling in the mud room, and I've never pulled it as I've seen Lynn do, never let the stairs slide down, never peaked inside. But I opened the piano bench.
I find two, Songs of Glory, the other, I can't make out. So old, and I open
1881. I have learned her flowers,
but I have never learned her hymns, so I sit there as the sky
darkens through the basement windows learning
the words passed down,
and down until I am grabbing one note and then another
He has waited all thy days. Why waitest thou?
and the song starts to tell the secret:
Come and trust Him now.
This house is a life still living even though she's not here.
Help me hear her even when she's not here because these are lessons I desperately need, have needed. God knew this and brought me home. To my home. To Ila's home.