Monday, June 18, 2007

Everything and Nothing

We went up north this weekend to Ohio for a family birthday party for my uncle, who was turning 80. There were seven brothers and three sisters in my dad's family, raised in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky with very little money and a whole lot of beans and cornbread. Three brothers and one sister are still with us.

My dad passed away last fall so it meant a lot to me to be able to see his brothers again. Tom and I rode up together and my mom came up with some other relatives, so I didn't see her until she walked into my uncle's house. In that roomful of relatives, we looked at each other and both began crying. I was shocked when my throat clenched up and I knew the tears were inevitable. I didn't expect it. I thought the crying for my dad was over. But something about seeing my ever-more fragile mother in company with the graying brothers just made my dad's death suddenly very real. Painfully real.

The brothers are really very wonderful people. They are generous, kind, very family oriented and great, funny storytellers. We sat all day and drank, and ate and just talked. Talked and talked and talked. And laughed and laughed. I laughed until I cried. But these were good tears.

My cousin Pam had told me the night before that my Uncle Bill had beginning dementia. She said in the half hour drive from the airport to their house, he had told the same story three times. He told me the same story a couple of times that night. And again the next day. That's OK. I'm just glad he is still here. He can tell me that story as many times as he wants.

We didn't really do much over the weekend.We really did nothing. But it meant everything.

"One who died is only a little ahead of the procession, all moving that way. When we round the corner we'll see him again. We have only lost him for a moment, because we fell behind stopping to tie a shoe-lace."
-J.M. Barrie


sarah said...

Looks like you are enjoying the summer! This is the first morning I have gotten on and there has not been a new post up! Relax and sleep in. You have earned it! How was Shopsholic and Baby? I have been wanting to get it.