I feel sad tonight.
A beloved Uncle wrote on our Wert family blog of yet another young person’s death among the children of their close friends. In our extended family, we have experienced an unusual amount of tragedy and reversal and loss over these last months. (We probably aren’t so different than other families, but it seems like it has been unusually much!) And in the voices of my aunts and uncles and cousins on both sides of my family, it seems like I am hearing a heart sorrow and a soul weariness as they try to make sense of the events of this summer. They are courageous. They are strong. They are mostly full of faith. But it still hurts.
I read through the messages on our family e-mail groups this afternoon, and thought about how drastically our lives can turn in an instant, an hour, a day, a week, a month, a season, a year. Sorrow, grief and pain will be what defines this summer for alot of us.
The aforementioned uncle, in addition to dealing with a number of deaths this summer (the latest one is especially close to his heart) has also been hard hit with the diagnosis of Autism that was handed to a small grandson. There are no easy answers for this. I think of him and his family often — and pray.
My Uncle Vernon and Aunt Freda are dealing with selling their home, cleaning it out, packing things for a retirement home, and it has been bittersweet, poignant and exhausting. I watch them work bravely at making the adjustment and think how life has a way of progressing to places where the decisions we have to make are such mixed bags of grief and glory.
I think of my cousin, Jon and how we don’t ever really plan for such an unexpected change as he has had to deal with, and how, though he is on uncharted territory, he is leaving a map for us that I believe will be useful to alot of us.
I think of how our Wert Family was together the other week and I saw the faces of my beloved Aunties and Uncles after absences of much too long. I found myself unduly startled to see them getting older. I will always think of them as they were way back when I was a child — and when these imposters keep popping up in front of my face that have stolen the youth and the energy I want to scream “Halt!!! Who goes there???”
And then I look in the mirror and see this almost 56 year old lady who has to struggle with almost everything she wants to do and once again, I come back to the premise that I believe with all my heart: We are created to live forever. “This isn’t me.” I want to insist. “Someone came while I was busy living and changed the package. I’m sure that if I look hard enough I will find the gal who can go on 5 hours of sleep and keep up with everything that needs doing.” The only thing is, somewhere, even while I protest, I hear the hollow sound of my voice echoing into the corridors of eternity and I realize that most of what is gone is gone forever. I can get new knees, and I can do any of a number of self improvement things, but anything I do is still only temporary.
Sometimes I grieve over just how temporary. Sometimes I rejoice.
Today I’ve done my share of both.