my tribute

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dear cousin,

this is a picture of my dad holding you when you were a baby. i have many, many vivid memories of my father holding you. you see, i think i had just become officially too old to be held when you were born. i remember you being content to be held by my father for what seemed like hours to a 5/6-year-old. i wanted to be you. and i was so jealous.

i’m officially over it.

now i am just glad that anyone, anywhere at anytime got to hold you. it’s something many, many people wish they could be doing just now.  i am reminded very much during this mourning period how things we don’t yet understand always serve a purpose.  my mind and heart keep clinging to the small ways our family has been taken care of during this, the small graces, the ways we’ve taken care of each other. everything seems to have its meaning and purpose and i’m so very thankful to be in a place to see those little cracks where the light shines in. i’ve carried around some guilt for being envious of your being held by my father but now i see that if i hadn’t been so attuned to the relationship he had with you as a baby then i wouldn’t have these vivid memories and as an adult they are beautiful.

i know each of us are processing in our own way. for me this means utilizing music, and i know you would appreciate that. mike and i saw jim james on tuesday night. if it had been ANY other artist i would have stayed home but I just knew it was meant to be. I reflected about seeing him at the rudyard kipling with you in louisville,  how excited we were to be hanging out as adults for pretty much the first time. it seems so long ago but so near, like it’s shrouded in a veil and i could reach out for it but for that thin piece of fabric keeping it separated from the here and now. it was a great night. if i never told you that before, i’m telling you now.

it means i’ve been reliving the great lake swimmers and yeasayer concerts from last summer. it means i’ve been cracking up about how vehemently and emphatically every cousin reacted when i asked “does anyone feel like a grown-up yet?” at the restaurant before great lake swimmers.

it means i’ve been listening to a lot of all things must pass and the last waltz. i’ve always thought Forever Young was a beautiful blessing. i’m just thinking of you, cousin, as i listen. i think you embodied the message. i think you got the essence of life that dylan was able to capture in this song. { i know, so cliché to have a dylan song but the man wrote songs apropos to every occasion } it’s everything i could think of to wish for someone and i wish it for you now.

so here it is now, in words and the best version ever for viewing. i love you. i hope you know you are kind and loving. i hope you know you are so beautiful. i hope you know you are so smart and fun and intelligent. you are such a lovely person. may you stay forever young.

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ps. forever young is right next to the lyrics for dirge in the bob dylan lyrics book. cosmic connections.


4 thoughts on “my tribute

  1. I am afraid I will make you mad by saying this…or even confused. But maybe I should tell you now so you don’t get blindsided like I feel life has done with me. Being a parent of an adult is actually tougher than parenting a child. I know….makes no sense. Adults my age with adult children know exactly what I am saying…particularly if their children live a distance from home. People I have made this statement to who don’t have children think they don’t understand my words….then argue with me….how could that be….you are done….. NO YOU ARE NEVER EVER FINISHED being a parent. You have phases of parenthood and each has its blessings and its curses. And various personalities differ in opinion on which is which. BUt every stage makes you as a human being have to adjust and adapt yourself. I found pretty much all the stages to be fairly easy….the adjustments that is….if you just do this then that is better….if you just don’t do that then this is better. Trial and error, tweaking, reorganzing, etc. Its all manageable….until its not. And its not when you are no longer the one in charge of managing. When your child takes over their own life and you no longer have any control over where they go, what they do, who they spend time with, where they live, what they eat, if they get medical and dental care, how they spend, whether they have any spiritual direction and on and on and on. Not that adult children won’t attend to those things and most will do so admirably because most humans want to do what is actually in their best interest as their parents desired. BUt the problem is that they go out into the world and the world is tricky with smoke and mirrors and lies, and temptation and evildoers. And if you did your job as a parent you encouraged your child to go independently into it and hope they’ll do okay. And ususally they do. But you just don’t know… have to trust that things will be “all right”. And then some horrible episode occurs with someone else’s adult child….preferably you don’t know them and its a story on the news and its outrageous and unlikely. But then a best friend is severly injured in a car/bus collision and suffers traumatic brain injury. Its devastating to have that occur with your own child’s dear friend and you worry and cry as if its your own and feel so badly for the family and you are basically helpless to do anything but accept this miserable situation. And maybe this time it works out and the lovely friend fully recovers and lives a wonderful life and stands up with your child at her wedding. Whew. But you still worry about your own because if it happened to her friend it could sure happen to her. YOur child’s friends and cousins go all over the country and the world and into places where there are even higher risks than the hometown. Your child chooses to live in an urban setting you aren’t familiar with. All your own friends’ kids travel for their holidays all over the world and many have moved to major cities and live in urban areas and you don’t know what sort of diseases, criminals, or situations are going on but you can’t do a thing about it but hope and pray it will all be “all right”. The days of tucking them safely into their beds and knowing where they are and that they are safe are gone. And its very difficult to go to bed every night not knowing, just hoping that your child is “all right”. And now and then you get calls about situation that aren’t “all right” and you try to figure out what is the correct way to support with their adult life issues and what the proper boundaries should be and what to do.
    Then a day comes when you get the most horrible of horrible calls from a sister and she is telling you that your own niece has been injured so badly that she did not survive. And you know its not just you who is finding this stage of parenting to be the most difficult. IT ACTUALLY IS THE MOST DIFFICULT STAGE to be parent. Looking at the picture of your dad and Brooke just breaks my heart. If only we could keep you girls tiny and in our arms and safe for ever and always. Your dad has a point when he says a little girl should always be three… she can be held and cared for and kept safe from the world. When the teen years come and you are stressing about the 3 or 4 hour date and the all night prom activites or road trip over spring break you will get a taste of what its like for the rest of your life when your child becomes an adult and you just have to wait for the phone to ring and hope that your child is “all right”. You can only know that for certain if they are there for you to see. And just wait until she has a child and you know they are bicycling around on city streets…..try keeping the picture of your grandchild taking off her helmet and tossing it just befroe they collide with a truck out of your head……. This may be an easier stage physically to be a parent….but mentally its the most challenging thing a person can do. And on days like Sunday I wonder if I am up to the challenge. I seriously do not think I could continue to exist if what just happened with Brooke were to happen to you or Darla. I can’t let my mind go there. It’s nearly impossible to accept that its occured with her but if it can happen once it can happen again. Please be ever so careful. We can’t do this again. I can’t.

    • Ceal – I ditto every word. E V E R Y S I N G L E W O R D… I am so sorry for this tragedy for your family. And especially in light of Patti’s recent death. There are no words. Words are just lame. But there is a holding – a holding in the heart that I can do. Hold you in my heart before God and plead – please, Lord, let us all see Your handprint in this. Give us eyes to see and help us make sense of this pain…..God bless. Thank you for expressing the cry of your mother’s heart.

  2. Pingback: weekending | momjeanz

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