3.26.2016

Opposites and opposition

I always been fascinated by the ways opposites sometimes complement and explain each other. Not so much Yogi Berra style, but more of an illustration that life is not black and white. It’s bittersweet in a million degrees. 

Because of my obsession with finding poetic irony, I wasn’t so surprised that my dad died on the first day of spring. I’ve always looked forward to that day each year when we can officially shake off that nasty label ‘winter’ and have the hope of color, warmth, light and life that spring brings. I dread the first day of winter for the opposite. So, when my daughter was born on the winter solstice, it changed me. What had always reminded me of death and dreary, lightless days evolved into a celebration of new life. Spring this year brought death of one kind, but the beginning of another life.

This thought had been swirling through my thoughts all week as I went to my dad’s viewing. As Elder Oaks came by, he smiled at Claire, shook her little hand and said, “This is what mortality is all about: comings and goings.” 

I hate to admit, but my mind bursted out singing ‘The Circle of Life’ at that moment. But it’s true, isn’t it? It’s so easy to get caught up in bad hair days and rush hour and forget that we are all a part of something much larger, something that’s been happening for a long time before us, and God willing will continue on much after. 

The day of his funeral, my sister-in-law asked her son what his favorite memory of Grandpa was and he said, “My happiest memory of him is when he taught me how to slide. My saddest memory is when Grandpa took his body off.” 

I can tell you those words landed on a soul that was hurting incredibly and as soon as they were said, they began healing. Sometimes it takes a three-year-old to jar you into remembering that death is simply taking off your body as you would a burdensome, binding, and restricting outfit as soon as you make it safely home. By taking off your body, you are who you really are. There’s nothing to hide behind; there’s nothing to set you back. 

I miss him intensely. I don’t expect that to change any time soon, but I love to think that he is happier in his new skin.

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3.13.2016

Thank you for saving me

Claire,

It's been a very hard time for me lately. Your grandpa, my dad, only has a matter of a few days left on this earth. Although he's been sick for a couple months, the knowledge that his time was coming arrived all at once in a sickening slap of reality. It's hard to imagine life without him. We were very close, and called each other almost every day for one thing or another. He loved you and you loved him most. You would always run to him as soon as you were set down. That's one of the hardest parts for me, that you could have such a sweet bond with someone who you'll undoubtedly one day say you never knew. 

I wanted to tell you that you've saved me. Grief has coursed through me in many guises: adrenaline, nausea, anxiety, and consuming, tangible loss. I find that I'm mourning not only what I had, but the robbery of the memories I never got to make. 

I hope you don't feel too sad reading this. I only wanted to let you know that this is how I feel, and then you're there, and all of a sudden my perspective is forced to change. I look at Grandpa and I see how tragic life is; I look at you and I see how beautiful life is. I hold you and I hold a life that's just beginning, so forgive me for squeezing you a little too hard lately. You are hope, disguised as a little girl. I'm glad every day that you're mine.

I love you. Thank you for saving me.

Mom


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3.05.2016


I recently started reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, and this quote pierced me. Do you ever wish you could just have courage, the compassion, the faith, the strength, the whatever you need? I guess I always knew there was no free ride, but this at least gives me a road map. 

I will have courage by couraging.

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