Sunday, January 7, 2018

Love

My aunt's funeral service went off with many hitches. First, the snow storm caused flights from everywhere to be cancelled, leaving my brother and niece stranded in Jamaica. My cousin from Nassau who was supposed to deliver the eulogy, and our cousins who were traveling up from Florida also had their flights cancelled, but the Virginia, Maryland and Boston cousins drove or took the bus, despite the so called bomb cyclone that dumped so much snow and blanketed the Northeast in subzero temperatures.

The service itself was an exercise in acceptance. There was no program, and therefore much confusion about what was supposed to happen next. The priest clearly knew nothing about our aunt, and should not have bothered to deliver an address of any sort, as his words only highlighted his lack of preparation. My cousin Helen was sitting beside me. I turned to her and whispered, "I think they needed more support with planning. I feel awful that I didn't offer more help." Helen beamed her bright impish smile and whispered back, "That is just self-abuse. Let it go. Everything is happening exactly as it's meant to." I relaxed then, and let everything be just what it was.

At the repast after, the food didn't arrive for hours. The service had been a morning one and most people hadn't eaten breakfast, including me. Despite almost everyone being ravenous, the milling around and catching up with family was lovely. My cousin Winsome had found a box of photographs in her garage that had belonged to our Uncle Charlie, who died ten years ago now. She had sorted the photos in different envelopes to be parceled out to family members, and we all pored over each others pictures, remembering who and what and when. That was definitely a highlight.

My own envelope included photos of my children as babies and toddlers and at birthday parties for which Uncle Charle usually baked the cake. My daughter and niece immediately started snapping photos of the photos and posting them on social media for my son, who was out of town at an alumni track meet, and their cousins in Vancouver, who also weren't there. Not to be outdone, I'm posting one of my favorite photo rediscoveries here.

It's Sunday afternoon now. All our houseguests are back on the road heading home, and my husband just walked in carting bags of groceries. He plans to make zucchini noodle lasagna for dinner. He just said to me, "You know, I love when the kids come by and hang out with us, and I love having our extended family stay in our home, but there is a certain joy I feel when I know I'm coming home to just you." After 31 years of marriage, his words made my heart smile. Our nest isn't empty at all.


12 comments:

  1. Just as it should be.
    Look at the calm love and pride in that face. That handsome, good face.

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  2. That old photo is a treasure! How thoughtful of Winsome to sort through the old photos and share them.

    Some years ago, I shared a photo of my grandmother on Facebook. It was taken in 1950 by my father, when he and my mother and I traveled from California to Minnesota when I was in my first year of life. My Aunt Helen, who turned 95 at the end of December, had never seen that particular photo of her mother and was delighted. It is occurring to me that before photos, families saved letters and shared them. Seeing someone's handwriting is like seeing someone's face once again.

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  3. It's hard not to shoulder blame for some things that go wrong, but I love your cousin's approach. It is certainly easier on the head and on the blood pressure, and I'm going to try to remember it for the next time I need it. Having family - even part of the family - together for the fellowship that is part of the funeral process is a huge blessing and a bonding experience. It always seems sad to me that the honoree can't take part, but for those who are left, it is affirmation once again that we belong to this world, and to a wonderful group of people in our smaller circle in it.

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  4. Aren't you both lucky! And that photo is a wonderful gift/find...

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  5. Your cousin sounds like the person I want to be.

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  6. Lovely!
    Xoxo
    Barbara

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  7. That photo is such a treasure. Love seeing your husband's beautiful face. Yes, the empty nest is not empty at all.

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  8. What a great picture! It must have been fun to discover all those old photos. Sorry the funeral had its complications, but I think your cousin has the right attitude. It is what it is.

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  9. I know just how your husband feels. We feel that way too, especially after the holidays when we are back down to the two of us. So very blessed we are.

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  10. That's such a wonderful photo -- so much wonder in it! I'm sorry the funeral was a bit scattered -- it's so strange when things are like that, strange and perhaps even funny when they certainly shouldn't be. I think of the word "calamity" -- and it sounds like your cousin has a tremendous sense of humor.

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