I am gathering those I love close to my heart this week. The fall brings memories of loss, and the appreciation of life – and the Seattle clouds and rain have swept in for the next nine months, deepening those feelings of solitude.
A close relative of my mother’s recently passed on, my cousin’s teenage daughter died in a car wreck a couple years ago this November, and Gordy’s cancer took a nose dive around this time, leading up to his death in January of 2005. I also just finished reading The Kite Runner, which is a sad, tragic book that left me aching at the idea of having unfinished business with someone who is now dead.
But even in this grief, I feel I am maturing. It is surreal to hold both life and loss together – equally appreciating both, becoming overwhelmed by neither. Bryan has a set of Chinese meditation balls – they are metal, and about the size of golf balls. When you hold them together in one hand, using your fingers and thumb to rotate them around, they not only massage the muscles in your hand, but make a soothing sound as well.
This is how I’m feeling these days about life and loss – embracing both in balance actually soothes me. I miss Gordy, but remembering the loss of a loved one only makes me hold those I have with me closer and not take them for granted.
When I think of Gordy now, I actually feel joy, because I am able to appreciate what we had apart from my missing it. I look at the fall leaves turning red, and I remember our times at the cabin in Northern Minnesota – building huge bonfires with the dead underbrush on our property and chopping firewood to store for the next year.
Recently, on a day trip to the Lake Wilderness Arboretum, Ruthie and Thomas wanted to go off-trail and stomp through the brush. I smiled at this because it is the exact thing I always asked of Gordy as we hiked through the woods on our property – “I don’t want to be on the trail, can we go through the deep, deep woods?”
So that’s what I did with Ruthie when she had to pee, we tromped through the deep deep woods so she could squat, and I told her that Grandpa Gordy would be so proud.
And that is how grief marches on, at least for me.