My hands still smell of thyme and sage. The chicken is roasting in the oven. Maybe the last chicken I will prepare for awhile. It is warm in the kitchen, which smells of herbs and olive oil.

Mom had intended to make this meal yesterday. Ingredients waiting in her refrigerator, while she went with my Dad to the cardiologist in the morning. Plans made.

. . .

Plans changed when a morning doctor’s visit turned into a day at the hospital, and then an evening spent waiting for word from the surgeon opening an artery barely supplying blood to Dad’s heart.

. . .

It doesn’t take much to make me grateful. But some gifts require worship.

I keep imagining a moment that might have been. A phone call. A jolt. The rhythm interrupted.

Instead, last night I sat on the porch after saying goodnight to my Dad at the hospital. I had a glass of wine with my husband. We told and re-told the story – the mere 1% space left open in an artery. The tired-looking surgeon emerging to report success. A holy gift.

The absurdity of our astonishment.