When the hospice nurse arrived this afternoon to see Hester, all the extraneous people vacated the house. Tal and I sat on the back porch with Bill, Hester's husband. It hadn't been ten minutes when Hester's daughter stepped through the door, leaned over, put her arms around Bill's shoulders and whispered, "She's gone."
As ready as he was, as ready as we all were, those two words put the world into a strange wobbly orbit. There were things to do, but for awhile as the nurse boxed up medications, made calls, all the things she was supposed to do at such a time, we simply sat with Hester, around her bed there in that large, bright room overlooking the Penobscot Bay.