So while I was gloating over what this much-loved and widely read woman said about me, Ana spoke from behind my chair.
Ana is a woman who quite nearly shares my age, my home and my family and yet we live worlds apart. She comes every other week to put my life right side up, to pet the dog and humor the kid, to climb ladders and sweep corners and reach places that annoy me to high heaven but not enough to get off my butt and do something about.
She sat with me when I was bedbound and pregnant; I have rushed her to the hospital with strange and gripping pain. I do not live without Ana, and thankfully, I do not have to.
I swiveled around and Ana told me about her niece in El Salvador who was dying of leukemia. A niece only 12 years old and with only five months to live. A niece with the two names Meriam Artice.
At least I think that is what she said. Although we communicate perfectly, Ana and I rarely understand one other, which is the basis for an ideal relationship.
Meriam Artice is what I heard, and she spelled it for me. I had to ask because hearing this shut me down and emptied me out. Artice was my mother’s name. It was only my mother’s name. I never knew anyone else, nor did my mother know anyone else, who had her name. My mother has been dead for six years, but as you might guess, she’s not gone. Not by a long shot.
I took Ana by the shoulder and we went to the backyard to say a service. We said a chant for auspicious blessings for Meriam Artice and every other Artice, for Ana, me, you and every other you. And post-haste, I hastily posted to broadcast the benediction.
This is how the practice works. This is how the world works. In thunderbolts of heartbreak and flashes of illumination.
And while I was out back, with the dog and Ana and Artice, I saw clearly that it was time to rake. The rake rescues me, every time.