I’m back. In case anyone might have noticed, this may have been the longest time I’ve gone without blogging in months.
We went to a family gathering in Florida in honor of my grandmother Evelyn’s 89th birthday. In addition to my little family, my mom and uncle, and my two brothers and their families were there.
I went into the situation with some good advice from a dear friend: Let adults be adults, no matter how strange it seems. A hard lesson for me, since I tend to try to fix things and mediate and all that kind of thing. Actually, it turned out that almost everyone was fine. One glaring exception seemed (very unfortunately) beyond any mediation or healing from me or anyone else. I hope whatever was going on resolves itself. Perhaps I’ll write about it some day, when I’ve gained some kind of understanding or perspective. It’s beyond me today.
One thing seems worth mentioning here. It has been some time since my father died, but there had been no chance since then for his three children to scatter his ashes. Not wanting to take anything away from my grandmother’s birthday, we (semi-secretly) went off by ourselves to do the deed at last.
We shared some memories and anecdotes, cried a little, and ended up in a big three-way hug that felt utterly comforting and good. We each tossed a handful of ashes, then my youngest brother threw the rest just as far as he could. The lighter ashes rose into the air like steam, bending light to suggest a rainbow. A wide swath of what looked like some kind of sage was covered in white, and some few bits of metal that remained from his implants clattered against the ground. It wasn’t an ideal place, but it was very peaceful and open and clean and in the midst of nature. He wouldn’t have preferred Florida – but it was better than behind his mother’s old house, and it was the best we could do. If there is an afterlife, I hope that he is pleased. It was just the sort of informal but heartfelt occasion that he had wanted.
On the way down, we got a chance to spend a night with my friend Sharon at her house in Jacksonville, and John was able to get at least a little time with his friend Bob. Sharon offered her vacation house on St. Simon’s Island as a stayover place for the trip home. We arrived there by midafternoon Sunday, had a good meal, and – utterly exhausted – fell into deep slumber by 9. The trip back was uneventful, and I am very very grateful to be home.