Monday, August 11, 2014

That's all there is to it.

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I am hoping to process some of the events and feelings from the past summer in a series of blog posts.  Having at least an imaginary audience will force me to press on processing, as I had little time to do so in the midst of everything.

Today, I want to reflect on the feeling/emotion of mourning…. and loss….and things no more.

In June (2014), the 100+ Watts family gathered once again for our annual family reunion.  It was the first one without Grandfather since he went to be with Jesus last December.

As we all lived the week without him, I realized Grandfather's physical life here on earth is simply no more.

There would be no more of his faithful trodding across the sand dune to be with his family, in spite of the physical pain he was in, but never complained about.

There would be no more of his steadfast presence under the canopy tent, in his beach chair; socks on his feet and some kind of hat on his head.

There would be no more of his fatherly voice when he announced who would receive one of Grandmother's bracelets that year (a family tradition for each of the new babies born).

There would be no more of his contagious laughter when one of his sons told a story from a long time ago. ("Yup, that was when we lived in Middletown....")

There would be no more of his enduring checking every rental company and house multiple times to make sure everything and everyone was set and well ("Well, tell your mother, I'm gonna go over to the Civic Center to get the keys...")

There would be no more of his unassuming dependence on his family to always have a sweatshirt for him (Do you have a sweatshirt Grandfather?  "Well, your mother usually has one for me.")

There would be no more of Grandfather's persevering loneliness through committing to many family reunions without Grandmother ("Every day is hard.  Every day I miss her").  Family was a priority.  "And that's all there is to it."

If all of this is no more, then what would there be instead?
What would fall into the empty space that inevitably shows up in his place?

By God's grace, there is still his family...

His family still scampers over the sand dune, cousins running to see their other cousins they haven't seen since the last reunion.

His children are devoted to being present in their children's lives, knowing that family relationships are foundational, and are primarily strengthened through being with each other.

His voice is still fathering all of us through the videos, recordings and notes that we have about him and from him.

His contagious laughter along with grandmother's, is still heard loud and strong through the voices and laughter of all the aunts - especially when they are together.

His sons and daughters have endured plane flights across the country, and many meetings with each other to figure out the family business, the details of Grandfather's house and things to make sure everything and everyone is set and well.

There has always been and will continue to be an unassuming dependence on each other in the Watts family, as they ask for help, and as they care for each other- primarily and immediately through prayer and then in whatever other ways possible.

And finally, there will now be a persevering loneliness by each of his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren as they make the sacrifice and commitment to many more reunions without Grandmother and now without Grandfather.

Family is a priority.  "And that's all there is to it."

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