Photo: I sincerely believe that sunrise is the moment when here and there are separated by only the thinnest veil.
I failed to mention during my last post that The Husband lost his grandmother on Saturday morning. We left the Outer Banks on Friday night in anticipation of the traffic on Saturday, arrived in Maryland at about 1:30 in the morning and went to sleep… when we woke up, we’d received a text from my father-in-law informing us of the news.
It was a very long battle for Carrie (I’m changing her name for obvious reasons). She battled cancer and infection, going in and out of hospice and hospital for months. Readers who have been with me for a while will remember my father-in-law’s urgent call to head out to Missouri to say goodbye to her almost 2 years go. We answered the call, doing our duty, and then held on for the ride as we got weekly reports about how her health was failing or improving. As I have witnessed The Husband’s family hold their breath, waiting and mourning and hoping and waiting some more… I have felt a spectrum of emotions. Carrie and Grandy were close in age and got their cancer diagnoses at almost the same time. Grandy was gone by October. Carrie endured… not always comfortably. It’s been a long time and a long wait.
My father-in-law did his level best to be by his mother’s side for her passing. He spent months at a time in Missouri, coming back to the east coast only on rare occasion to take care of things around the house in Maryland, or to come up to babysit the grandkids. He anxiously called whenever he was away, and would jump in the car to drive the 18 hours from Maryland to Missouri if there was any indication she was deteriorating. In the end, he was in Maryland when she passed in the wee hours of Saturday morning. “I didn’t even get a chance to pack and leave,” he’d said.
I’m sincerely heartbroken for him, not just because he lost his mom, but because, despite all of his effort to have a bit of control over where he would be when the time came, Death didn’t wait for him. Death comes on its own schedule, and that didn’t coincide with my father-in-law’s. I cannot fathom God’s plan in any capacity, but I do wonder if there was something purposeful, a blessing yet to be realized in how it all happened. My father-in-law was at home in his bed, getting much-needed rest he admitted he needed, when Carrie was invited, finally, into the rest she’d been praying for.
I do sympathize with his heartbreak over not being able to say goodbye. I think about my last conversation with Grandy, the hopeful note as we got off the phone: “we’ll be back to our Sunday calls in no time! Don’t you worry!” There is always a plan for “next time” in every goodbye. It’s a hard thing to learn that your last goodbye really is that.
I have a lot of sympathy for my husband, too, of course. He is traveling back to serve his duty as son and grandson, gathering with far-flung family to grieve and pray. While he wasn’t as close with his grandmother as I was to mine, mourning is still mourning… he’s going through his stages. This first part of is relatively easy: Death comes with work, and that work is very distracting. He didn’t bring Life with him this time, though, deciding to do this alone (his ticket to Missouri alone cost over $1000). The hard stuff comes later, much later, in the moments when you’re alone. And they linger… for years. I will give him his space, but I’ll continually reach out a hand, too. I’ll learn what mourning looks like for him. It’s good to know, because this will happen, inevitably, again.
If you’re wondering, yes, I did get a chance to spend a bit of time with Carrie. Carrie was a woman who had a sharp eye and a sharper tongue, she could size you up after only a few minutes and she was a great judge of character. She was fierce and unabashed in her faith, but hers was thoughtful and reflective, and what she knew of herself, she also knew of God, and you could tell that she loved and she prayed with ferocity. She raised her two boys and she raised two nephews after her sister died. She lost her first husband to a tragic accident and she married again. I can only imagine what she thought about her two sons and how they ended up turning out. She seemed plenty proud of the 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grands she had. I’m grateful she liked me. I am grateful I got to hear a few of her stories. When The Husband decides to straighten his back and get into “mountain mode” about something, I see a bit of Carrie’s fire in his eyes. It’s a good thing.
I can’t really believe it’s Wednesday already. Summer days go just as quickly as any other season’s. Or maybe I’m just getting so much done, I can’t be bothered to notice the time (yeah, right!). Either way, it’s mid-week and we’re still here. You’re still here, right, Dear Reader?
I’ll see you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.