Today’s Summer Solstice, the first day of summer and the longest day of the year, will be a little longer for some. Today my sister-in-law buried her oldest son. What should have been a day to celebrate the beginning of summer, instead was a day of mourning.
At the graveside service, the officiant quoted from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes. This version is from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE).
3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
While there may be some wisdom in these words, the loss of a child upsets the order of things. For everything there is a season… a time to die for us all. Parents want that time to be before our children. Time will bring acceptance and healing. Until then, we allow ourselves to grieve the untimely passing of Zachary Rausch, gone too soon.
As Father’s Day comes to a close, I am thinking about all the fathers in my life.
My son, who is celebrating his second Father’s Day, has a baby girl who simply adores him. I am proud of the dad he is, especially because he didn’t really have a role model.
When I was a teenager, my step-father sewed a skirt I ripped as I cried out of frustration. He took me to the emergency room when I fell down a flight of stairs and split my noggin open. And he made some killer cubed steak and gravy too! He doesn’t sew or cook much anymore.
My brother-in-law is celebrating his first Father’s Day. He had never held an infant until his own son was born. By my sister’s own admission, he is a better mother than she could ever be.
My father-in-law is a wonderful man and has treated me like a daughter nearly since the day we met. He looks out for me, sends me things he knows I would like, and takes a general interest in what’s going on with me. (I think he likes me better than my husband.)
All kidding aside, my husband learned a lot from his dad. I always say the line that hooked me was when my husband’s online profile listed one of his favorite things as “telling jokes that make me laugh and my kids roll their eyes.” I always heard that the best gift a man can give his kids is to love their mother. Well, we don’t have any children together, but my husband has certainly given his step-children the gift of loving their mother. And I know it has been good for them.
Finally, I have been thinking about my dad all day. He could make any situation seem better with just a few words. I can remember calling him late at night, because I knew he would be up… and if he wasn’t he would talk to me anyway. He always knew just what to say. One of the things he used to say to me, popped into my head first thing this morning. It was usually after I had done something stupid and he wanted to let me know he was in my corner no matter what. He would say, “You’re my daughter. When you’re right, you’re right and when you’re wrong, you’re right.” Now I was smart enough to know I wasn’t always right… especially in those moments. But it sure made me feel better.
A friend who attends my spiritual center brought her mother with her for the first time today. At the end of our service, we all hold hands and sing It’s In Every One Of Us, and many folks get the whole Kum Ba Yah sway going. My daughter and her husband also brought a friend today, and he had the typical reaction that I’ve seen many have to holding hands and singing with strangers… it weirded him out a little. But back to my friend…
As we were leaving, I saw my friend and her mother. She was beaming. I asked her what she thought and she gave an atypical response to the one I often hear. She said it had been so long since she had held someone’s hand and she talked about how good it felt. She even talked about holding her daughter’s hand, which made me realize how fortunate I am that I have a “touchy-feely” family. My parents always hugged us and kissed us, as I do my children. Even my youngest son with mild Autism likes hugs and kisses from people he loves.
At the end of my arthritis class at the YMCA, the instructor has participants hold hands for a prayer. For arthritis sufferers, some of those folks (many of which are 20 years my senior) have a serious grip!
My in-laws are huggers and kissers, as is my husband. It is one of the good things he attributes to his ex-wife. My husband still holds my hand when we are in the car, or out in public… or when we’ve just watched a touching scene in a movie.
We know that babies can die from lack of physical attention. Our skin is our largest organ and full of nerve endings whose stimulation can give us a sense of well being. Have you ever been to a nursing home where many of the elderly have few visitors? The first thing many of them do is reach out and grab your hand.
Human touch is critically important. I encourage you to grab your spouse’s hand, hug your kids, or give your mom and dad a kiss. Obviously, you have to be discerning, but there are people out there in the world that could use a hug or a hand on their shoulder too.
Many of the people I love, and some of those I’ve lost, have tried to quit smoking. Some have been successful. Others have not. I support the Fight for Air Walk because the American Lung Association does help people quit smoking. My first walk was about the grieving process after losing my dad. This year’s walk was different. This was Daddies’ Girls third year walking and after my accident in November, I wasn’t sure I would be able to begin the walk, much less finish it. As it turns out, I was able to begin and I even finished. (My left hip is not happy with me.) Thank goodness for Ibuprofen!
The wide spectrum of mothering
To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food
stains – we appreciate you
To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we
mourn with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and
disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t
mean to make this harder than it is
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of
motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
To those who have aborted children – we remember them and you on this day
To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn
that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be
To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths
To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren, yet that dream is not to be – we
grieve with you
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
To those who placed children up for adoption – we commend you for your selflessness and
remember how you hold that child in your heart
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have
real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
By Amy Young (http://messymiddle.com)
A few months ago I posted about Why I Walk in the Fight for Air Walk. Here we are, one week away from the walk, and I am not as “ready” as I hoped I would be. My physical therapy has been discontinued, even though walking is still painful and sometimes quite difficult. This evening I went for a leisurely walk after dinner and now I am on the couch after taking 2 Ibuprofen, nursing a painful hip. I am determined not to let this keep me from the fundraiser to which I am committed. So rain or shine, whether I complete the walk or not (or whether I am even able to begin), I will be there to support my team. If you would like support me in raising money for the American Lung Association in the Fight for Air Walk click here.
Although I do say thank you to my husband, I don’t say it nearly enough. And it’s the little things for which I need to thank him. Tonight he put these lights up for me. It really wasn’t a little thing, but he made it seem like it was no big deal. The thing about it is that all I had to do was mention it and he was right on it.
I don’t give my husband “honey do” lists and he doesn’t expect dinner on the table at a certain time… or at all for that matter. My husband does what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. I love to cook and when I feel well enough, I do it. When I can’t, he does it. I am such a fortunate woman.
What prompted me to write this particular post is the fact that my husband has really had to do so much to help me for the past several months, and I haven’t felt like much of a partner. This weekend, we have had time together like we did before my accident. He did help me with some physical activity to help me strengthen my legs, but he sang my praises and made me feel like it was enjoyable for him… even though I know he could have done much more without me holding him back. For this, and many other reasons, I love him more than the day I married him.
He supports me in my writing… and creeps my blog. He picks up a drink for me when he stops at the convenience store. If he takes the car I drive somewhere, he fills up the gas tank before he brings it home. He notices when the air is low in my tires and fills them. My husband looks out for me.
I think if more people did little things for their spouses, there would be more happy couples and maybe even less divorce. I know my husband loves me when he brings me a piece of dark chocolate from his stash, pops popcorn for me (because I have tendency to burn it), and reminds the server “no croutons” on the salad.
I guess this post is a little reminder to myself to do more of those little things for my awesome husband. (He’ll agree he’s awesome, but that’s another post.) But for now, I am going to see if he’ll pop us some popcorn and watch a movie with me. My guess is, he will.
Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
― Carrie Fisher
I use this quote a lot so that I will remember it. When I am having bad thoughts about another person, I realize that I am the one housing the bad thoughts. I’m sure many times I was angry at someone who was oblivious to the fact, or who quickly forgot the incident. I don’t want that toxicity in my temple anymore. Whatever I am upset about, I let go of as quickly as I possibly can (depending how conscious I am in that circumstance). And I still have a long way to go, but I’m working on it. So whatever resentment you might be harboring… let it go, and have a wonderful Wisdom Wednesday!
I have been guilty of constantly worrying about everybody else and putting everyone else first. My sister once pointed out to me that I needed, not to move myself up on the list, but to put myself on the list. Fortunately, in my experience, most of the people in my life have loved and appreciated me, cared about my needs, and have not taken advantage of me.
Sometimes I am reminded that there are people out there that are more concerned with things, money, rules, and their own wants, than they are with the well-being of their fellow human beings. I consider these people a gift. They remind me to treat others with compassion. They remind me to be kind because we never know what another person is going through. And they remind me that sometimes I have to put myself first, and maybe put only me on the list.