I am at a loss about how to spend my day. None of my endless piles call to me with the urgency that they might. I am home and no one knows it, even my youngest son, who dutifully left a full dish of food for the dog, in what was to be my absence.

I am having an adult snow day.

I awoke early to dress for my trip to Northern Michigan to honor my friend Betsy’s monthlong vigil at the bedside of her sister Nancy, to honor a life well lived– and so loved. I wanted to go for me too, to celebrate the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood. (I called my own sister yesterday for no real reason at all.) But in the wee hours when sleep should have been singing her name, the ever mindful Betsy sent me a message from Llelanau telling me to, to forgo the snow drifts and unpredictable roads– to stay home.

On Monday morning, Betsy and her family sang Nancy to sleep with choked verses of “Jesus loves me. ” Nancy’s body was ravaged, her spirit undiminished, her smile even more luminous. In her last days, Nancy said: “Life is meant to be enjoyed and to bring joy to others.”

As I write this I realize that I’ve gotten it all wrong. My snow day is supposed to be about joy, and I’ve been slow and weepy and out of sorts.

I have a joy plan. I am going to let my dog run free in the snow, meet a “sister” for miso soup, hug my husband and sons tight, take dinner to an ailing friend. Dessert too– Suzie Qs made with peanut butter just like Betsy and her gang make them.

I am going to do a Betsy—I am to ignore the piles and live in the moment, and in the light. The piles will wait. Betsy will be home soon. She will need her sisters.

Nancy, with a firm grip on Betsy, vintage 1965

Nancy, with a firm grip on Betsy, vintage 1965

Betsy and her sister Nancy at Thanksgiving

Betsy and her sister Nancy at Thanksgiving

The most beautiful people we have known
are those who have known defeat, known suffering,
known struggle, known loss, and have
found their way out of the depths.

~ Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross