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I’m not a fan of angels. I mean, I like the concept. That someone is watching over you, and helping God do his work. Or something like that. It’s not the angels I have a problem conceptualizing. It’s their wings. They freak me out. Like, do you just grow wings when you die and fly around the heavens all day? This idea just doesn’t work for me.

I watched a video the other day of stairs going up to heaven, and the angel getting wings and I just had this adverse reaction to it. It’s like I think that Matt isn’t really into that yet. Like at what point do you grow them? You can see the problem.

So. Yoga.

I found a yoga studio when I first moved to Modesto, and I ended up going a few times a week. I loved it. Hot yoga by its mere location…and it was something sorta kitschy and fun, and a break from running while I figured out new routes. Then, when Matt died, I would sob in my classes. At the end, when you are flat and meditating, I would just bawl. The owner of the shop extended my registration due to being out of town 2 times. A lovely studio and people.

You’re to set an intention for every practice. Shortly after his death, I would just numbly stare at the wall with no intention at all, except to get through the hour without becoming a mess.

So, last night, I was thinking about when Matt became a Shellback. There’s an initiation of sorts when you cross the equator, and you have to do all these humiliating sorts of things. Silly fraternity type things. You enter as a pollywog, and leave as a Shellback. You gotta get an olive or a cherry out of a belly button of some big dude acting as King Neptune. With your mouth. You gotta crawl through vomit, these sorts of things.

As I was leaning down to do Warrior 3, a pose I can never do, I heard that word. WARRIOR. And I thought of how my nephew probably had to pull out all of his warrior inner strength to get through that initiation. I felt the strength. I felt him holding me in my pose, and encouraging me to stand strong. I didn’t shake. And each time I got in that position for the rest of the hour, I FELT HIM.

As we held our last meditative position, I saw him in his dress whites. On a ship. Standing strong. I imagined saying to him, “Hey don’t pull any of that angel shit. I just am not seeing it.” And he stood strong. And said, “Aunt Linda, you’re gonna be okay. But, I have to go. I have to.” And he was at peace. And strong. A warrior. A brave man, who I happen to think is gone to soon. But. I’m not in charge of the universe apparently.

He stood on the deck of the ship. It started sailing and I was not happy. Tears were streaming down my face. My yoga teacher rubbed my temples, as she does to all at the end of the practice. I cried right into her fingers. And he smiled. And I said.

I will love you.

Okay, so angels. No. I prefer him to be helping stray animals. To be strong for new people coming in to heaven. To direct others where to go. I imagine he is in charge of finding the right place for newbies to get initiated into the next spiritual journey. But. There will be no wings on this boy.

I see him forever in his dress whites. Standing at honor. And, finally. At peace.

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