I have a situation in my family that has resulted in me having my grandchildren more than usual for the last sixty days. It’s been both a blessing and a challenge, because I am neither retired nor lacking in direction for this phase of my life, nor did I have much extra time, that elusive trickster – time.
So many angels have surrounded all of us, I have so much gratitude.
Yesterday, after a particularly challenging day with both children, both of them grieving, hungry, tired, needing more of my attention than I could give them, because I was trying to write an email, their father picked them up.
I walked to the place in Kilauea where everyone goes to watch the sunset, but I missed it kiss the horizon line because I stopped to love a horse.
Walking back, after talking on the phone to a dear friend and taking photographs, I heard someone call my name.
Loudly, clearly, a familiar voice, and I turned around and nobody was there, no car had driven by, there was nobody in the field…and then I heard it again – loud, clear, distinct.
Yes? I called back into the inky air, Yes? It’s me!
I was spinning – around and around, and nobody was there. But the moon was, and Kirsten’s favorite horse was, and the orchid tree and the goats.
I walked into the farm, between the rows of Kale and sunflowers, my daughter’s favorite flower. The post sunset light was completely gone by then, the owls screeching. I was looking for a person who called to me, but all I found was my name hovering in the darkening air under the new moon.
Perhaps I was chosen for this task, I thought.
Later that night, my granddaughter came back to spend the night. Before the family disruption we had a tradition of Friday nights together, then waking up Saturday to breakfast and an excursion that sometimes included the nursery, where we read about the plants and learn their names.
Today I bought new Birkenstocks, because on Kauai they literally become unglued after a year, and Mika new slippers with gold glitter.
While Mika was trying on sandals, I marvelled at her long toes like my daughter’s toes.
I never knew who in our family had long toes until my father’s toes were sticking out of his sheets when he was in ICU. It made me wonder how many years we go living in the same home without seeing each other.
Millions of grandmothers and caregivers have been here before me, assisting in a bigger way with their grandchildren or someone else’s children, or having their adult children live with them again – so many combinations of family and community assistance, for a myriad of reasons.
A year ago I was sitting poolside with a beautiful woman my age who was raising her grandson, because her son had died. I marveled at her love and commitment, and I remember telling her I couldn’t do what she was doing.
You could do it, she said, trust me, you have no idea how strong you are until the time comes.
Here is my prayer for today: God give all the parents and grandparents and and caregivers and children struggling in this upside-down world strength. Protect my beautiful daughter and her children and their father and all of us who love them.
I have been in pre grief for what I always knew was inevitable – the tidal wave that was coming. I had been holding that tidal wave back for so long, but it came anyway, and in some ways it was a relief.
There’s a lot of energy in stopping a storm that might be necessary for everyone’s growth.
Hello, grief, I recognize you, you are here again.
And I am stronger than I thought I was.
Robin Gadient shared this James Baldwin quote this morning –
“For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing., the sea does not cease to ground down rock.
Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have.”
And tonight, Jane Morgan and I were working on our class we are teaching next weekend – and we came across this excerpt from a Jan Richardson poem in her beautiful book of Blessings –
“When the news comes,
may the humming
in your head
give way to song,
even if it will be
long and long
before you can
before you can comprehend the love
that latched onto you
in the rending –
the love that bound itself to you
even as it began its leaving
and has never
let you go.”