Tuesday, May 29, 2012
A Family Divided
My Grandmother passed away last week. She lived a long life. She would have turned 98 this summer...the day before my birthday. You know, I really felt 'okay' with her passing. I mean, geez. She lived a freakin long life! I held it together pretty well until after the rosary and then completely fell apart after the service. There were so many feelings of sadness. How I will miss my Grandma, let me count the ways.
Jason Aldean's "Dirt Road Anthem" will forever have the memory of the funeral procession to the grave site for me. As we drove through the town, all I kept thinking was I will never come here to see her again. All the memories that I have carried with me and thought about over the entire course of my life will have no new ones added. Ever again. I have been so blessed to not have to experience the loss of a loved one that was so close to my heart. I did at age four and somehow managed to callous myself to loss until now. I honestly think I suffered a small amount of PTSD. I couldn't keep my thoughts together. I spent the rest of the time away and through the beginning of the next week to sort through my feelings.
The one thing I was extraordinarily thankful for was that everyone had come together. Even though the one, true commonality we all had was the connection of blood lines, we were all there. It was fantastic to see faces I hadn't seen in far too long. I also actually got to meet relatives I had never known before. Then came another wave of sadness for me.
We were all at the service together, but we weren't together. I know every family has their ups and downs and sometimes it is impossible to all be on the same page. I thought that this one time, to celebrate the life of a woman that we all loved, we would really be together. In one place. At one time. It didn't happen. I always thought that it was just distance that kept us all apart. Was it?
I'm sure there are stories and hurts that I don't even know about but, damn, I didn't really love spending my time there driving from place to place to make sure we at least saw everyone there. Why couldn't we all be in one place? Why couldn't we pull our family together to celebrate this life? Why couldn't love and kindness prevail just this one time?
What I did discover is that we are all more alike than any of us want to admit. Any time I have heard something not so complimentary about anyone over the years, I let it go in one ear and out the other. What I discovered while I was there was that we are all the same to some degree or another. We all hold grudges. We are all judgemental. Maybe I'm just getting wise in my adult age (I somewhat doubt that) but it just seems like even after almost a century of life, life is too short. There is never time to right all the wrongs. There is never time to be all we want to be. There is never time to love everyone we should. So, the lesson I took away from all of this is that life is too short to hold on to anger and resentment. I never want to be that person again. I never want anyone to look at me or talk to me and feel that I have held onto bad feelings. I never want anyone to wonder if I love them when they should KNOW I do.
As I looked at all of the aging faces, mine included, I realized that it was the last time I would ever see many of them. I tried to hug enough. I tried to smile enough. I tried to chat enough. I tried to feel whole even with holes gaping in my soul. It was pretty hard to walk away from this reunion of sorts feeling good about being in a family divided; knowing there is nothing I could ever do to bring them all back together.