providence in portland.

My best friend, Laurie, lives in Portland, Oregon, worlds away from South Bend. We usually see each other during the summer, but this year there was a special treat – I’d be at the Pacific Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Portland – that would bring us together an extra time this year.

Laurie’s mom is dying. She has been for some time now. I haven’t been able to be there, physically, for Laurie at all and worried that I’d feel so far and helpless when her mom finally passed away. At Thanksgiving the doctors warned the end was near. Four weeks ago the hospice nurse gave her mom a week to live. She’s still holding on, but Laurie let me know this morning that her mom’s life is drawing to a close.

I leave tonight for Seattle and, after some family/friend time there, will take the train to Portland Thursday. Laurie and I were supposed to spend some time together before the meetings. We were supposed to hang out like we always do over coffee or Thai or wandering through the mall. We were supposed to walk together on the waterfront. For the first time in a long time, we’d have time alone, without our kids.

All our plans are now on hold, and likely out the window. I can’t help but feel like some other plan, though, is playing out just as intended.

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