Saturday, October 3, 2009

Where to begin.....perhaps the middle.


"As a representative of the United States Navy, it is my high privilege to present you this flag. Let it be a symbol of the grateful appreciation this nation feels for the distinguished service rendered to our country and our flag by your loved one."

I've been back for a few days now. I have been staring at my computer screen in a daze searching for the beginning.....I have been checking in on your blogs, but, not been able to 'check in' at mine. The journey was bitter sweet in the most painful of ways. We laughed, we cried, we cried because we were laughing at a time when we thought we should be crying. We clung to each other and we rallied around my Grandmother when she was at her most vulnerable moments....and each of us had our moments of sorrow. We loved, ribbed, cajoled, buoyed and held each other up.

I have been trying to process what happened and reconcile the purpose for the trip with the joy, yes, joy I derived from the time spent with my family. Families are a funny animal and trial can bring out extremes in them, extreme love and compassion and extreme pain and drama.....we managed to limit the drama and work the pain over with love and compassion. This, I am grateful for. This is what brought me joy.

There is a story to tell about my Uncle....not so much about his life, but, his death. His death gave my family a gift....a gift of love and time, time together, time to be in each other's presence and really appreciate each other, to come together and just be grateful for each other in a way we rarely make an effort to do. Ironically, the very togetherness we shared, he ached for, but, never really achieved. Periodically one of us would stop in the middle of what we were doing and say, "Ron would have loved this...." and some of us would smile knowingly and some of us would silently weep and others, would carry on and revel in the joy....the simple joy of the moment.

Our awareness of time passing was critically heightened and each passing moment was treasured. I documented everything. I ran my camera....through everything...with the exception of interrupting final goodbyes. I did capture sorrow, pain, even anguish, but, I also captured love, pure, unadalterated joy, delight, comedy, action, stillness, beauty and even some ugliness. I challenged myself to see deeper than ever before, to risk, to reach, to even hurt and they all gave, freely, without guard, with complete trust....the highest form of LOVE.

In the weeks ahead I know there will be challenges for all of us, especially my Grandmother and Aunt, as they will have to deal with the details of the accident, insurance and his house and his estate. Grief will dominate the days for my Father as well....I will be watching him, holding him up and praying.....for them, for me, for Ron.....I will draw on those moments we all shared, those hours our family connected, those few days when we were at our worst and our best.....I will process those bits of light and even the darkness....holding onto all of them, tightly, praying for more days, hours, MOMENTS, of JOY......

Open your eyes and heart.....embrace the smallest smattering of JOY.....every chance you get....

Peace

4 comments:

Brian Miller said...

glad to hear you are back from your trip and it sounds like there are some great things to come out of it. actually joy has been something i have been thinking through the last week or so...there are times i let mine go...

otin said...

You have had so much on your plate lately. I hope that things will find a much smoother path for you soon! We missed you!

Dayne Gingrich said...

Thank you for sharing ~ can't be easy. I love your last sentence... says it all, doesn't it?

"Open your eyes and heart.....embrace the smallest smattering of JOY.....every chance you get...."

-Dayne

Pat said...

A very moving post. Death of a family member plays havoc on a family. Everyone grieves differently. And yes, there are those moments of laughter, and tears. I hope your pain eases with time.