Monday, April 11, 2016

A heart both broken and full

My father's memorial service went well. There were many, many people who came, some of whom I hadn't seen in years. The church was standing room only and he finally accomplished in death what he had worked to hard to achieve in life. It was a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man. Because he would have thought it was pretty funny, I want to share a funny moment from the service with you. (I also realize that I would, without being aware of it, store up funny stories to tell him because I knew he would find them funny. Even as this was happening, I realized I was rehearsing how I would tell him the story only to realize that I wouldn't get to. Death sucks.) Anyway, my father loved all things Scottish, something he inherited from his own father. My mother came across this photo as she was sorting through things during the previous months.

I don't know how old he is here, but yes, that is him playing a set of child-size bagpipes. Pretty cool, huh? Well, my mother realized that what the memorial service really needed was a piper, so she found one. It being an indoor service, let's just say that even the people in the back could hear him very, very well. We were not in the back. Of course, anyone who has grown-up in the West would see the bagpipes and know what was coming. If you have spent the first nine years of your life in an orphanage in a remote part of China, the bagpipes is a completely unknown instrument. J. and I did not put all of this together until the drones on the pipe started and we realized that Y. had immediately put her hands over her ears, cried out, and buried her head in J.'s lap and shook. There is a reason they were used in war... if you have never come across them, bagpipes are evidently terrifying. The second (and final) pipe solo did not improve Y.'s opinion of them, but since the family was escorted out, her terror was short lived. It was one of those parenting moments where you are both terribly concerned about your child, but terribly amused at the same time.

The rest of the day was spent with family and close friends. We all survived.

Yesterday was the reunion of my old Camp Fire Girl group; the group my mother led from the time we were all in first grade until we all graduated from 8th grade. We did a lot together and were quite close. As we grew up, we drifted away with various of us keeping in touch with one or two others. Well, one of my friends, who I have kept in touch with over the years, decided that she would organize a reunion and try to get as many of us together as she could. It was a gift to my mother and me, as she figured something good to look forward to would be greatly appreciated (and she was right.) Amazingly, she and another friend were able to locate all but two of the 16 of us, and 9 of us were able to make the event. There were also some parents who came as well, because they wanted to reconnect as well.

It was a fantastic afternoon. First, my friend who hosted the event is a phenomenal hostess, but even better, we just reconnecting with old friends. You know how sometimes you meet someone you knew, but lost contact with, and you feel as though it is a completely different person from the one you remember? Well, there was none of that with this group of women. We all just recognized each other. We still really knew each other and all we had to do was fill in the gaps from the missing years. We spent nearly five hours catching up. One of my refound friends summed it up best, "I feel as though I filled a hole in my heart that I didn't know was there." I think we all felt that way. It was a gift.

Today we said good-by to my brother and his family and spent a lot of time in the pool. Tonight, J., M., B., and A. take a red-eye flight back home so they can go to work and to class. I will spend the week here with my mom, playing, and soaking up the warm weather. Then, J. flies back to Phoenix in time to drive home with us. (I know, I got the much better deal.) I will update as I can.

1 comment:

Carla said...

My sympathies to you. After my sister-in-law passed away (young - age 38), my siblings and I would say "I just had an Amy moment" when we would turn around (physically or just mentally) and realize that we had forgotten she was gone.

After the funeral my brother made up a beautiful memory box to hang on the wall with various mementos. He got it completed, hung it up, and then suddenly realized that his wife would never see this box he had made for her.

Grief is hard. You are in my prayers.

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