Today, as the snow melts here in NC, and the sun decides to visit us again, one of my worst fears is brought to life. I’d like to believe that when I decided to live in the Appalachian Mountains that I had prepared myself for what that entailed. I thought I was prepared to let my family behind. I thought I was prepared to be independent and move one. And I thought I was prepared to weather the deaths of old relatives from a distance.
Today, one of the most caring and strongest women in my family has passed away. It comes to no surprise since she had been fighting for dear life these past years. Nevertheless, you never expect it to happen. You always think that since the sun is shining for you that so it is for others far from you.
I admit that I was not prepared. I knew she would leave soon; we all knew. I just always expected to be there. To send her off on her journey as the casket was lowered. To cry on the shoulders of my cousins as we retold funny stories of when we last saw her. I just never expected that I would be here, crying in front of a computer trying to cram for next week’s class, while my family suffered through their loss.
I have never been a fan of funerals. My first funeral was when my paternal grandmother died and that was the moment, at 8 years old, when I realized that I could not have it all. After that, I found myself in every funeral sitting in silence, offering words of solace that I did not understand, and will never understand; while having this raw wound pump blood into my existence while tears ran down my cheeks. After that, I would find myself in this constant search, while walking down the streets, hoping to see the face of the person I just lost.
Now there is one more face to search within a crowd. A bright, pudgy, mahogany face of a woman who had a quick wit, powerful laugh and a knack for making the most delicious food in the world. I admit, I was not prepared for this. I was for everything else, but because you ease into it. You take your time doing the toe-heel dance until you know where to stand. But this… there is no dance. There is the awkward stance in front of the door where people you’ve never met say how sorry they are for your loss. This is the stance near the hot chocolate machine with your family trying to laugh through the tears. And even know, for me, there is not even that. For me there is sitting on the floor in front of a book full with theory of how to help others in crisis. Words after words of how to get into people’s psyche, but I can barely stand stepping into my own.
I can only imagine how my family is doing. I would rather they not call me. I can only imagine how they will do after this. I hope that they call me then, when they are rebuilding because a pillar may have come down but there are still bricks and we can rebuild.
I was not ready for this but then again nobody is. I will blow a kiss, have it travel the cold winds of NC through the sea and find its home in the Caribbean as the sun sets and hope she will receive it warm and full of love.
Signing off, TWS