How do you spell stress? A high school graduation, two workshops, two trips, a wedding, family highs and lows, and not enough gardening.
Today when we drove off from another family gathering, I was in tears. I’m not sure when or if I will see my beloved brother-in-law again. He is battling cancer, strong and determined enough to marry off his son to a beautiful woman, dance at the wedding dance, eat like a horse, and still the cancer may win.
It is so strange to realize that I don’t really fear my own death, but can barely tolerate the thought of watching the people I love pass on one by one over the next few decades. It is the grief that I can’t stand thinking about. I blithely remind people in my workshops that grief—tears—are liquid love, but it feels much, much worse than that. It doesn’t feel like love when you are in it. It feels like pain.
Death just seems so permanent. And how do you talk about it? I am a logical person and understand that all of us are walking a path toward our own death, and yet . . . it is the life that matters. And life does matter. We need to see how precious each moment is and not waste our time in pettiness and worry or making small problems into giant problems.
There was so much I wanted to say to my brother-in-law. I wanted to thank him for being such a good partner to my sister all of these years, for adding two wonderful young men to our clan, for his humor and even his sarcasm, for just being here in my life.
I didn’t say anything. I just hugged him and said good-bye as if it were just another normal family gathering, like dozens of others over the years. I saved my tears for the privacy of my own car. Was that the right thing to do? Probably. He knows that I love him. He knows my heart. In fact, he knows all of our hearts and that he is a part of our family. For this occasion, the marriage of his son and new daughter-in-law, it was the celebration of life that mattered, the dancing and sharing good food and laughing and telling naughty stories about the groom that mattered. It was just plain good fun even though a cloud hovers overhead. For a moment, we can banish the cloud.
It is probably silly to be putting all of these things I couldn’t say in a public post on my blog, but my goal, like Rick’s, is to “deal with the real” in my blog. So, here I am—exhausted, sad, satisfied, filled with love, filled with good food, filled with grief.
I always remember what a Siletz Indian woman, Aggie Pilgrim, said to us when we recorded her husband in southern Oregon many years ago. She met us at the door and kept saying again and again, “The Creator is so good to us.”
That is how I feel today. I am so rich and the creator is so good to me. Thank you for the many riches of my life—mainly my family.
Tomorrow I am going to begin planting my garden. Summer has arrived.Share on Facebook