Monday, September 21, 2015

What have I learned?

Drawing of Marcie given to Call famiily by YSA Bishop LeFevre
As we have gone through this period of death and loss in my family I feel the need to reflect on the experience and maybe some lessons learned.

We have grown closer together as a family in some ways and farther apart in others.  We spent so much time around hospital beds and shared stories and memories, cried and laughed together that it felt almost like heaven on earth.  SO much of work and worldy  things diaappeared and we glimpsed complete family time.  As soon as the final funeral "amen" was said though, we haven't seen much of each other.  We needed space and time to breathe and get back into our life routines.  Our  Parents were the draw, the magnet that pulled us and now that they are gone we will have to make an extra effort to come together.

One death was a blessing...Dad's,  and one death was shocking...Marcie's.  Even how they left this world, these words apply.  With Dad he slipped peacefully away, being able to be lucid and kind to the end.  His pain was managed and at his almost last breath we all laughed and then were so grateful that he was gone, that his life race was over and his journey was just continuing.   Marcie's death was what nightmares are made of.  Her body was wracked with cancer and her gasping and lungs collapsing was horrific.   In the end she really didn't even look like my sister. I don't know why Cancer works this way, but it does. It was horribly sad and upsetting. I'm grateful for Gary's reminscing, the singing of hymns and having famiy around that night.  I hope this is the memory that I will eventually keep.  I have had to put the beautiful Marcie pic as my screen saver in an effort to supplant the last pic I have of her in my head at her passing.

Two years is a short amount of time to lose 3 loved ones.  My whole world is on it's head.  I was just over the reeling of having my most amazing Mother die, and then Marcie is sick and dying, and Dad too.    It feels surreal not having my sister, mom and dad right down the street from me.  There was so much comfort in this.  They were my cheerleaders, my shoulders to cry on, my back to reality checks and in charge of the family.   I am now the matriarch?!?  It's hard to go on without my people but I know I must.   This shared experience of death hits every family, and as I look around I have wonderful examples of carrying on through the heart ache, and reaching a new normal.

I don't have just sympathy for families who lose loved ones any more... I have absolute empathy.  I get it.

Life really is short.  We need to have those hard converstaions and the sweet, loving ones too that connect us to our families and friends and hopefully help us become more Christ like and less judgemental.

Say I love you a lot and often.... it can't hurt and it always helps.  Even at the end, when we thought Dad was completely out of it, someone would come or leave and give dad a squeeze and say, " I love you" and he would always mumble back, "I love you too."  It was amazing that in this dopey-state love  came easily to his lips.  It's because he didn't hold back saying it all through out his life.  He said it often and meant it.

Take more pictures.... I have so few these last years with my sister. We were always taking the pics and not in them together.  I feel bad about this.

Some days grief and sadness feel almost unbearable.  I have to hide away and cry away the hours..but the next  moment I get a sweet text, an Alfie hug or look at the blue, blue sky and I feel fine.

It doesn't matter how we get to  heaven...we just all do eventually.  We mortals with our fallen bodies and intellects  put so much emotion around death and dying, but it's just all part of the earth experience. There isn't all of this emotion attached to death in heaven.  I don't even believe that God has our days numbered and we exit this world only when God says.... that seems crazy to me.  Dad could have died 3 different times this year, and it wasn't God's will that brought him back, but dads not having a do not resuscitate order in place.  How does one explaiin car accidents?  The Holocaust?  SIDS babies?  God doesn't sit around deciding it's this person's or that person's time to die.  Death is just all part of being on earth. We just came to get a body,  have life experience and continue on our journey to heaven.   I do believe in tender mercies along our path as reminders that we have a loving Heavenly Father... but getting to heaven is the goal, not seeing how long we can stay on earth through medical science.

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