Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Absence and Seasons

I get somewhat annoyed by apologetic prefaces for blog absences because, with the exception of a few, I don’t miss them specifically when they are gone. I’m always glad when bloggers do post again after an absence, but prefacing the return post with a long apology lessens the enjoyment. Everybody goes through phases of writing productivity, times where personal expression is less needed (or perhaps, half-formed, unfinalized), and seasons where to be present in life is more important than to be present on the internets.

I only intended to take a week’s break, during an 80+ hour work-week due to a huge annual fundraiser I help with. Then, I seemed to need a week’s recovery. Then, life happened. Several friends had babies; the world welcomed Evony, Danica, Owen, and Isaiah. Several got married, and one of my best friends (and current roommate) became engaged, and suddenly wedding magazines, plans, ideas, dresses, shoes, favors and flowers became regular topics of conversation around the house. Other friends are weathering painful breakups. I seesaw between rejoicing and mourning, listening and advising, sprinting and sleeping.

Several days ago, my Grandfather passed away. We have known for some time that he was terminally ill, but it is still a sad walk this week with my many cousins and aunts and uncles as we say goodbye to Grandpa Wilbur, who sang himself home with the hymns and folk songs, the words of which stuck with him longer even than the names of his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Passionate and unpredictable at times in life, what remained at the end of his life were the beautiful words of hymns about Home. Long after he was past the point of conversation, he would sing to his daughters and his caretakers as they helped him, and when he couldn’t sing anymore, his wife of 62 years sat at his side and sang by the hour because “I want him to know that I’m here.”

“Am I in heaven?” he asked my mom once.

“No Dad, not yet. Soon.” She said.

“Are you all coming with me?”

“Not yet, Dad. We’ll come later.”

“Is Wilma coming with me?”

“Not yet, Dad. You’ll have to go first this time.”

“But you’ll all be there? You’re coming?”

That night my uncle read from the Bible to him and told him “You don’t have to wait for us anymore.” The next night, he passed away quietly, as two of my cousins sat with him.

What comes from your life when pain stops you from going on, momentarily or for an extended time period? When you are held in a time of mourning or a period of thankless monotony, what words flow from your lips? What words and songs live in your heart and rise to your mouth when the rest of your words are stolen, your mind blank? What will you be reminded of as you forget more than you ever knew?

8 You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9 And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt." (Ex 13:8–9)

2 comments:

Jenna St. Hilaire said...

Beautiful thoughts.

I loved what you had to say about the apologies bloggers usually post after an unexplained absence. (yeah, I've done it too.)

Praying for you and your family at the loss of your grandfather.

Jessi said...

I have a sneaking suspicion that were I to lose my memory and reasoning capacity tomorrow, what would flow out of me would be much less spiritual. His final days were both heartbreaking and encouraging.