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Friday, October 03, 2014


I don't faint.  That is a known fact about me:  I have only fainted a couple of times in my life, once from viewing my little brother getting his chin stitched up at the pediatrician's, after falling on concrete next to the neighbor's pool.

However, I got lightheaded tonight when I found something on my blog from September 2006, when Asha disappeared--I am glad I kept all of it here, and glad Blogger didn't erase it or something, because it pinpointed something about my final encounter with her that I had completely forgotten.  I had to lie down on the living room carpet after I read this.  I really thought I was going to pass out.

candles at sundown for Asha Veil (September 24, 2006)

A few weeks ago, I was shopping in the Ben Lomond Super, thinking about getting supplies for winter. This area is prone to power outages all winter long, and I like to have a lot of candles for the inevitable hours without light at night. I have two cut-glass kerosene lamps, a small glass oil lamp, numerous tin lanterns, and a few container candles. I passed by the small hardware section in the market, which is suprisingly well-stocked with power outage necessities, including tall candles in glass containers. I noticed that there was one pink container candle, a very nice shade of watermelon-pink, and I decided to buy it. The checkout clerk took a moment to roll it up in a separate paper bag to protect it, and I walked out into the warm day--just an ordinary day.

But my checkout clerk that day, the one who carefully made sure my candle didn't get broken, was Asha Veil, and I had no idea then that I would be holding that very candle a few weeks later at her memorial service.

I always remembered that I had seen Asha just before she died, because I could finally tell she was very pregnant (she showed just enough before that to make me wonder but not ask), and we talked about December babies, because Anina was due in December.  I remember bringing that candle to her memorial service and how numb I felt, picking it up and walking out the door, to drive up to the Ben Lomond Park where it was held.

I still have that candle and will find it and light it tonight...I can't bear to burn it down all the way.  My parents had the strangest candle when I was a kid, a huge pillar candle with years from one to twenty-one printed on the side--each year on a kid's birthday, you were supposed to light the candle and let the corresponding number burn away.  I always felt that when I turned 21 and the candle was burned out, I would disappear.  Here is an example of those candles ( mine was exactly like this, only pink. Note, if you zoom in, that age 21 has a picture of a wedding band next to it--this candle is from the late 50s. Forget college...):

I just located the "Asha" candle on the shelf and had to melt it down again to access the wick, which I finally ended up changing (true to my pioneer nature, I know how to make candles).  I put in some beeswax granules and wax from a few pink birthday candles as I melted things down, to put more color in it (it had bleached out a bit), and then placed the wick.  When the wax congeals and the candle is ready, I will light it whenever I sit down to write this book...but never, ever will I let it burn all the way out.