Last week I had planned quite a few blog post topics to carry me into this week – some parenting, some food, some social – my usual stuff. Then life happened and…well… you know how that goes. My father-in-law passed away and with that everything else simply fell off of the radar. Along with the normal grieving that comes along with losing a loved one, there was the added logistical stress of getting all five of our children to the same place at the same time and rearranging life in the middle of such pain. Then, of course, when you have a kindergartener and second grader there are the questions: How did he die? When did he die? What happens when you die? Why do all of our friends have grandparents, but we don’t? In regard to that last question, they truly do feel like they have been short-changed since they came along late in our lives. At this point there is only one remaining grandparent, my mother, and she has Alzheimer’s and has no idea who they are. So, if anyone out there is interested in playing the role of grandma or grandpa to two very loving little girls, they are accepting applications, please forward them on for review.
So, we’ve traveled to and fro and now we’re home and ready to settle into our new normal, which seems so odd to me. You know? You lose someone who has been such an important part of your world, like…forever, but life continues to go on. I remember right after my father died, I pulled into a grocery store parking lot and looked around at all of the people going on about their business and I thought “How can they act like nothing has happened?” Obviously, they were perfect strangers and had no idea, nor did they care, who my daddy was to me. Yet, it all seemed completely wrong. That day, I was the crazy lady walking the aisles of the grocery store, crying while purchasing my Easy Mac and grapes (there was more on the list, but that was all that I could manage). Thankfully, I have moved on into my new normal but, it took a while. We do have to keep living, don’t we?
Life does go on and we will make many more memories for our children to treasure. I am assuming that the Dynamic Duo will hire new grandparents and gain some understanding of the “Grandparent Experience.” Although we never forget our loved ones, we learn to live without them. We will romanticize our past with them and all of the little things that they did to annoy us will disappear. In legend and stories told and retold, they become larger than life. Even the most bitter recollections will become fond remembrances. I think that’s the way that it’s supposed to be. No matter how bad the reality may have been, at the very least their memory can find a soft place in our heart to rest.
I have no idea why, but a poem by Maya Angelou entitled “Touched by an Angel” popped into my head during the funeral service and I want to share it with you. Until next time…
Touched by an Angel
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.