It was a quiet shabbos

...and a peaceful one, complete with a shabbos nap and a walk at dusk. 

And---as I was walking at Viele Lake, I fell into a thought-loop---one of the awful ones, painful with no exit and no possible repair.  
I was reliving my mother's last days, then my beloved's---and cast into that black hole of unassuagable regret, seeing every possible thing I might have done to make their days better, to have shown more patience, more love, more humor, more deep presence, some little scrap of wisdom.  In both cases I was exhausted and distraught, accompanying their difficult and timeless present, endless while about to end any moment.  An end meant the end of their suffering, and an end of my own unsustainable efforts----also the end of the presence of the ones most dear to me in my life.  Now, when these thoughts revisit, they come with a list of my glaring lacks at the time most needed:  of energy, of gentleness or kindness or cheer, or wisdom; of my sense of humor, gone AWOL.  As the sky began to darken slightly, I walked in that public park on the verge of breaking into sobs, and nowhere near my car.

I approached the gazebo where a group of women were gathered, heads covered, food spread on the picnic table---and was greeted and invited to sit and eat with them, to break the Ramadan fast.
They recognized me.
A few years ago, when the family had first come from Saudi Arabia to deliver two of the daughters to the university, it happened that the grandmother/matriarch showed symptoms of altitude sickness.  I went quickly to the nearby market and brought back chlorophyll capsules, which mitigate those symptoms.  We exchanged contact information, and when the mother returned two years ago, we visited.
(She so graciously brought gifts---)
And here they were once more, reminding me that once in a while I did manage to do the right thing.

Now a bizarre thought sneaks in:  had I been as wise and as kind and as patient as I wished, would I have made their departure more difficult?  Did my distraught presence and behavior shoo them out of their bodies before things got worse or more painful?  

Is there a ceremony for asking forgiveness from our beloved dead?