There were five of us. My sister, Roxie, and I were only a year apart so we were lumped together in all things. We used to complain that our names were treated as one name in the family because they were often said that way. It was as if we were one person. But we weren’t the same. Quite the opposite. Roxie was the extrovert and I took after our father, the introvert.
Roxie loved to laugh and talk and be the center of attention. Frosty loved her. But he wasn’t demonstrative in any way, especially when it came to showing emotion. In fact, whenever there was a family reunion or social gathering he would disappear. We knew where he was—sitting in his truck. At all gatherings social he retreated to the cab of his pickup.
They both had a great sense of humor. But they had something else in common. My father wore his sadness like a thin garment under tacky armor. It was always there. And even though Roxie was quick to have a good time, she carried inside her a kind of deep disappointment. Real life never lived up. Her expectations were based on what she thought life was supposed to be. An exuberant person perpetually let down. Like a child who can’t accept the idea of broken.
Roxie got cancer when she was only thirty-five. She had two small children, ages ten and seven. Nothing like this had ever happened in our family. Emotions stuck in the throat and leaked out everywhere.
Then my father became ill too. Towards the end he didn’t want us to see him. But he didn’t mind if Roxie did. She was in a wheelchair by then. Was it because she was dying too? Two souls who didn’t need to hide from each other in the cab of a truck? On her last visit, she was sitting beside his bed in the hospital. When it was time for her to go the last thing he said to her was, Kiss me.
As soon as she got home she panicked. She needed to get back, but the phone call stopped her. He was gone. Roxie died a few months later. The multiple dementia that would eventually take my mother’s life began.
When Roxy told me she felt panicked I understood all too well. I felt the same way during her illness every time I hung up the phone after talking to her. She was gone. Was she going to be there next time? I was watching a Star Trek episode at two in the morning. The crew members were beamed up but they didn’t materialize. The crew on board stood around lost and perplexed. What happened? Where’d they go? Exactly.
Someone described heaven as a healing stream. A world of love. A hug. I believe it is a hug. One on one, God hugging each person. And each person being One with everyone.
There was a time when I needed to know if Christianity was true or not. The main thing that finally convinced me was the Trinity—God as One being who exists as three distinct persons who know and love each other. It made me believe because it is so us. It is us. What do we crave but this? To remain one’s self and at the same time be One with Love. We are ravenous. We want to be ravaged. Not just to see beauty, we want to be beauty. To devour and be devoured by the object of our love. This is the answer to all longing and it’s our nature. We don’t want to lose ourselves for the sake of peace. We want to be found. Separate but belonging. The final answer to everything being: Because you loved me.
I’m so happy for all of us. The Hug is real. But I’m especially glad for Roxie. This is the world she was expecting. This is the world we were all expecting.