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Monday, November 12, 2007

I've Had Better Days

Tonight, I am tired. Emotionally tired. I've had too much time to reflect on times to come. I hope that the grief that I feel right now will never return - but realize that my day will come - even 20 years from now will be too soon.

In the last three days, I have attended 2 funerals. I thank the Lord that it wasn't for any one in my immediate family. But still ...

A week ago this past Friday, I received a voice mail message from someone I didn't recognize at first. I thought about it for a few minutes, then realized who it was and returned the call. It was my former sister-in-law. We haven't really kept in touch all that much, but do exchange Christmas cards each year. I figured out the reason for her call before I actually made my return call - her father had passed away - my former father-in-law. I wasn't overcome with grief but felt sad just the same. When my ex-husband left me, his family kinda left me too. Up until my former mother-in-law passed away in 1991, I tried to keep in touch by sending pictures of the boys, cards and such. After a while, I stopped when I never heard anything back from them - my boy's Nanny and Grandaddy.

It made my feel good, that my former sister-in-law thought enough of me to let me know of his passing. She told me that her Daddy always liked me even after I wasn't married to his son anymore. I decided then and there, that I would attend his memorial service/funeral to show my respect and to support his daughter in her time of grief.

I called my children the next day to let them know. Neither one of them would be there on Saturday, it turned out. The older one told me that he wouldn't go unless his Dad called him. His Dad never called. The younger one told me that he didn't even really know his Dad, so he wouldn't have known his grandfather either. I tried to include their paternal grandparents in their lives when they were growing up, but without their father doing his part ...

On this past Wednesday night, I received a phone call letting me know that my friend/co-worker's mother had passed away earlier that evening. I had met this woman. She was only 59 - less than 10 years older than myself. I had spent time with this woman and her family many times, as recently as this past September. I have supported her daughter (my friend and co-worker) through the many, many months of her illness. This phone call broke my heart and I was truly overcome with grief - for her daughter, my friend. She had just lost her mother, her best friend. Right then and there, I decided that I would be there for her in her time of need. Her mother was no longer in pain and had moved on to a better place, a place where her strong faith in God had taken her.

So, on Saturday morning, I attended my father-in-law's funeral. The cemetery is right next to the church. It was a small, informal service with a simple burial right afterwards. It was his wish to be cremated. I saw former family members that I hadn't seen in a long time (about 14 years at least). I saw family members (children) that I had never met. I saw my ex-husband and his family. I wish that my boys would have been there too. I did my part, I paid my respects to my former father-in-law. He has been reunited with his wife. My hope is that his children will now pull together and be there for each other as families should be. By his own admission, my ex-husband knows that he shouldn't have drifted away from his father's life after his mother passed - he regrets that he didn't have the chance to say goodbye. I hope that he realizes that each and every life is precious and that he tries to reconnect with his two oldest sons. I can't force it, but I can hope.

On Saturday evening, I went to the funeral home for the visitation with the family and viewing of Melonie's mother. There were so many people there. There were so many flowers, including the ones that we, as co-workers sent. It was the first time I had seen Melonie since her mother had taken a turn for the worse, a week or so before. It was very hard, but Melonie is so strong in her faith, that I knew she would be OK. I viewed the video from her parent's 40th Anniversary party last year, that they had playing and realized that that was the last time I had seen her mother smiling and so happy. She had been diagnosed shortly after. She put up a strong fight until the very end.

Saturday night, I didn't sleep very well.

This morning, I attended Melonie's mother's funeral. It wasn't a solemn service at all. They celebrated her life and her faithful service in the church. So many memories were shared, some of which I had the privilege to be a part of. The drive to the cemetery was a lengthy one and it was uplifting to see the officers who were controlling the traffic at the intersections, stand with their heads bowed as we drove by. It turned into a route through country roads and the fall foliage was a sight to see. Her final journey was just as colorful as her life was. Afterwards, the family invited everyone to their church for a time of reflection and fellowship and very tasty home-cooked food. As I was saying my goodbyes, Melonie thanked me for coming and also thanked me for being a friend. She has been so strong through the last few days, it was at that moment, we shared a few tears, as friends.

My father-in-law and Melonie's Mom - May you both Rest In Peace.

9 comments:

bermudabluez said...

I came to your blog for the monday post, and read this one first. My heart goes out to you in your losses. What a difficult couple of days this has been for you. Blessings.

Wendy said...

I am so sorry for both of your losses. I can understand how you would be emotionally exhausted.

Rachel said...

I am so sorry to hear about your losses. So sad for the families. I hope that your ex realizes that he needs to reconnect with his son's. And, I hope that after all this time, they will allow him to.

Julie said...

I am sorry for your losses. While you are exhausted think how much more exahusted you would have been had you not make the effort to mourn their losses.

Tiggerlane said...

You sound so mature about your relationship with your former in-laws, and I was so proud to hear that you hope your ex-husband plays a role in your sons' lives.

I can tell, you are a loving and wonderful person, just by reading this post!

SJ said...

I'm sorry that the last few days have been tough on you, it's hard to lose people who have touched your life in some way, shape or form - be it past or present.

I'm even more sorry that J and M didn't attend with you, I know you would have liked that.

But like you said, you tried. Keep the hope alive, they will have a change of heart someday.

((hugs))

Beckie said...

That is a very rough week - two funerals in one week.

I imagine you are extremely exhausted. Rest up and take care.

frannie said...

what a somber way to enter the holidays-- for you and their families.

I hope that all of you find a little peace.

CPA Mom said...

Death is never easy and usually I take the coward's way out and do not attend funerals. Ever since my husband's funeral, I've only been to one other. I didn't even go to Jane's. I'm so proud of you for attending these and having the strength to do so. You are my hero.