When she entered the world, she entered it with potential. Newness stretched across her taught, reddened skin, eyes offended by the bright lights. Her voice had never been heard before, her fingers untouched, her smile undiscovered. She held the whole world in her tiny, curled up hands.

When her mother wrapped her hands around her, the beginning of life formed as skin touched skin. Cries mixed in with tears and words and prayers created a masterpiece far more beautiful than any her mother had ever laid eyes on. Life was breathed into that hospital room; it was heard, it was felt, it was a Presence all on its own. It was tangible; life in human form.

Her mother admired the way her hair pressed against her chest, the way the  breathing of the child in her arms mimicked her own. She was there, fully present. Not imagining the day before as it used to be; not imagining a tomorrow. There was just a today, a today that delivered a family of three that moments before had not existed.

Life begins in triumph. It emerges in a cacophony of sounds and smells and in a way that will never be repeated. It will never be felt that way again. It will never be revealed with the same cry, nor felt with the same touch. The clock that ticks as life enters will never tick by those seconds again. It is an extraordinary moment, etched in memory but never to be felt in its beauty again.

In the same way, just as her life began in triumph, so too did it end. Her body, wrinkled and weathered, no longer was new. Her skin had been touched tenderly by her love; it had been stretched taught as life grew within her. It held the scars of a life lived well and at times, foolishly. Her eyes, so long ago white in their newness, were gray, but still held the light that had always danced when her lips turned up into a smile.

Her voice, once unheard of, had been heard of and never forgotten by those she passed by. She built up with that voice, she whispered love even when tears fell. She also hurt with that voice, sometimes intentionally and other times with deep regret. She clung to her words though. She adored them. Not only her own, but those around her, and conversation – words mixing with others, creating that beautiful sound every other noise paled in comparison to – was her favourite sound.

Her fingers no longer remained untouched. They had been tugged by little ones she had bore and ones she had loved as if they were her own. They had gathered her own tears; they had curled themselves around her in the moments she felt most alone. They had caressed, and they had held. That was what she was most proud of. That those plump, reddened fingers had been instruments of life in the broken places.

When she smiled, she was open and most herself. They were never dishonest smiles; they were the kind that revealed the heart behind them. If she was broken, the smile curled just the slightest up towards her eyes. If she felt the joy down to the tips of her toes, her smile was a doorway that let it all out so that it was no longer just hers. That smile, oh how it pointed to the one who gave it to her. It was always a mirror: of the one across from her, or the One above her.

The moment she entered the world, in that hospital room, she was merely a beginning. The day that she left this world, she was everything in between. She once was the one who held the world in her hand, but when she left, the world held her. It held her in the lives that she had been a part of, and it held her in the echoes of her laughter that wouldn’t be forgotten. It held her in the lives she had formed inside of her, and it held her with the words that filled journals and conversations and letters and cards. In the beginning she held; in the end, as breath left her lungs and Life left her side, the final brushstroke was completed.

A masterpiece, a life both beginning and ending in triumph.