Sunday, November 10, 2013

For those we've lost but will never forget

It's almost 1 in the morning and I'm sleepy, but not asleep.  I know I should go to bed, rest my messy head, but I can't.  I can't stop thinking about everything and nothing at the same time.  This post may not make any sense when I read it tomorrow, but I can't not write.

Yesterday and today, I had crazy-busy, fulfilling and productive days.  I felt like I accomplished things.  Little things and big things.  I was able to let people I both love and care about know I care in small ways through small acts.  Lately that seems to be all I can manage.  But I feel like it's more important to do that now, while I can. Also today, I went for a leisurely bike ride with Aaron, where I soaked up the last warm rays of fall before the cold sets in and had one of our chats that I've come to love.  Then, I came home and raked leaves, then baked bread from scratch.  So many of these things reminded me of moments from my past and little memories I had saved in my quickly-depleting brain.  But these memories, of crunching leaves and the smell of baking bread and the sounds of confidential talk are important.  They brighten things up a bit, you know?

It's good to be busy.  And to keep yourself busy.  But sometimes?  Sometimes all you want to do is just stop.  I don't mean this in a morbid, I want to end it all kind of way. Just a put your little, insignificant life on hold for a bit so that you can catch your breath, then really breath- deep satisfying breaths and start again, refreshed.  To pause and take time to notice the short but amazing small moments that make this life bearable.  They are called memories, and only you can make and keep them.  But really, all you can do, have to do, is just keep going.  Things will not be put on pause.  They won't even slow down.  Because, this messy, unpredictable life as we know it brings such joy and such sorrow.  Things (relationships, places, people) that were solid and impenetrable one day, are gone the next. Poof- just like that. And to this day, I'm not so sure how to handle it.  I've noticed I avoid and try not to think about these things, these feelings, because they make me sad.  But maybe that's not the best way.  Because when you stop moving, it's all there... still waiting for you.

Like my grandfather,  Papa.  He was born in 1919 so that makes him 94 now. Even though he has reached such a remarkable age, for the past couple of years, he has not been the Papa of my memory.  Slowly, but surely, he has left us.  Physically, he's still there.  But he has dementia (it smacks of Alzheimer's disease) that has ruined his once solid, detail oriented memory.  More than not, he doesn't know who my grandmother, Nanny, is anymore than he knows who I am.  Sometimes she is his sister, or my mom is not his child and I am his niece.  But we are not his "kin" or people he adores anymore. He used to tease us and torment us, but we always knew that he would give us the world if he could have. We are now strangers, always introducing ourselves to a man just as much a stranger.  We frustrate each other trying to make sense of it all.  It used to break my heart (even though I would put on a brave face and laugh it off) and I used to try to find ways to justify it one day or try to fight it the other.  But I can't anymore.  For now, it's the new normal and all we can do is wait.  All we can do is try to make the best out of the situation, take every day as it comes and just keep moving forward.  But I can never forget my good times shared with him and what a great Papa he has always been. Never.
My dear Papa, as I'll ALWAYS remember him

Another example is a dear friend in our congregation who recently lost her husband to cancer.  It moved fast and was ferocious and took him much too quickly. They were expecting it to take him, but really, who is ready to let go of a dear and loved one?  No one.  But they have good memories of him to hold on to. I have good memories of this man because he was an amazing husband and good, good man.  Again, all we can do now, is wait and cling to those memories.

Hmm? What's that you ask?  Wait? Wait for what? Wait for better times promised in the Bible.  Revelations 21:3, 4 promises that there will be a time when " he (God) will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” I believe that as much as I believe the sun will come up every morning and give way to the moon every night.  Because without that hope and that promise, then what's the point of moving ahead? 

So for now, all I can do is cling to the good memories and continue to try my hardest to make more good memories for myself and others.  All we can do is cling to the  promises held out to us and pray for the strength and comfort to cope.  After all, that's the good stuff and what it (this crazy life) is all about.

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