The expected call came late Sunday night, and now my family is shuffling its way through the planning and preparing stages of the final act. Schedules are being arranged, plans changed, and the mechanical movements of grief are being played out.
It wasn't a surprise, not really. 98 years is one heck of a good run, and with the added blessing of almost 94 of them being self-sufficient and in control of her own life... there is far more to celebrate then to mourn. She has gone on home to her husband, a son, and her friends. Over the past few years I've often sat and wondered if I would have the same strength if I found myself the last of my peers. She came into her own in her 80's. Her first art show, a published book, a trip abroad to Scotland, her first piece of bubblegum - taken and chewed with relish after stating her father never allowed the practice... but she figured what she did now was safe from reprisal!
We'll gather and say the right words, mumbling how much she will be missed – all the while grateful she has gone at last and can find her peace and clarity after a torturous few years locked into a body and mind too far gone to allow her any freedom.
I spent yesterday dealing with the whole situation in the manner built into my dna. The morning was spent in a haze of lemon scented wax and apple cider vinegar – dust bunnies trembled in my wake, windows were flung open to let in the unbelievable 68' fresh air, and my home was frogmarched into order and respectability. My family deals with difficulties and trouble by ordering our lives and delving into projects. (As I write this, my father – mourning a women who was more his 2nd mother then a cousin... following the death of his mom in July, this is a double blow to him – has begun a major home remodel involving the demo of a side of the house. We deal – by getting things done.)
Once the dust cloud cleared and the cats crawled out of hiding, I pushed away all thoughts of death by focusing on life. A sweater for a soon to be born baby was finished, a bag meant for trips to the farmers market is at last complete, and I have dragged out my seed trays and new toys for the growing season ahead. Photo's tomorrow as well as new beginnings for the nerdly nest.
Oh, and one last thing. I am still trying to figure out my best way to meditate (keeping up with my promised participation in the mindfulness challenge) but my method yesterday was a simple one. The baby sweater found each stitch being mumbled over, prayers of happiness, health, and... for the sake of the sanity of the cousin bringing this long in arriving little girl into the world– a quick delivery.
Focusing on life and new starts in a time of endings.
(Now, all I need is for a certain friend to fall into the same bandwagon and join this challenge. You know you want to......)