Friday, June 27, 2008

Altars of remembrance

Today held such a mixture of emotions. Christopher and I were at the mall when it opened this morning so he could show me the suit he had picked out the day before. He needed a new suit for an important dance this evening (the homeschool equivalent of a prom) and his sister offered him one for a graduation present. She even told him exactly what colors to pick out and they truly were perfect. There is that "design sense" at work again.

He left this afternoon to meet a group of young people who will be going to the dance in two different vans. That's one thing about homeschool events, they aren't necessarily in your home county! :)

I am so glad we took part in all the graduation activities, even though it meant spending a great deal of extra time and money. Such celebrations... rights of passage so to speak... or important for young people. Those altars of remembrance we build throughout family life. As Edith Schaeffer often said, how important it is that there is a person who makes certain landmark events are remembered and celebrated.

Not only the big things like birthdays, holidays, and graduations... but all those little happenings that are important to the smallest around us... like Elizabeth finally losing a tooth today! That is a big deal in her world right now. Faith's birthday is next week (July 4th!) and Grammie must get her package sent.

Then there are those events in life that we do not look forward to, those we know that if we live long enough, we will experience from time to time. Uncle Gibby (aka: The Old Coot) passed away this morning. I had an e-mail from my niece today and a call from my sister about an hour ago. How good it is when we can turn tears to laughter as we remembered a life well lived. He was a good man.

My other brother-in-law (the one who lives in the same area as we do) has been in ill health for years. Yet, he lingers on... Gib has had minor health problems that come with age but he was only diagnosed with cancer a couple weeks ago. It is hard to grasp that there will be no more jokes or comments about the government coming from that e-mail address, anymore. Uncle Gibby worked for the government in Washington, D.C. for twenty years. He had some good stories.

I told Jean today that I won't try to fly to Florida. I don't think I can handle the travel right now (although the New England contingent offered to pay for the trip). No... I'll pray for them and talk over the phone, which is the best I can do for now. Jean may visit soon, especially as the vacant seat at the table becomes more real. There will come a time when "coming home" will be what she needs the most.

We'll visit mom's grave and have lunch a couple of times at our favorite cafeteria. It was mom's favorite, too. I'm sure she will meet with nieces and nephews to visit the resting place of our brother and our sister and get caught up on family gossip. If she comes in the summer, we'll chat about how high the corn is this year and if the river is still at flood stage. If autumn finds her back home, she will enjoy seeing the changing leaves, yellow and gold mums, woodsmoke in the distance, and sitting on the porch in the cool of the evening. Florida doesn't have a lot of corn... or leaves that are red and gold.

We'll think about the seasons and the years, the people we miss, those we look forward to seeing again someday. Too many empty places at the table. But we can't concentrate on that for there is another generation... children and grandchildren... nieces and nephews... friends and family. Life goes on. But for tonight, we will cry for those who have left an empty seat at the table... and e-mails we will no longer receive.

Picture: Water Baby and the Moon;


Heather said...

I am so sorry for your loss! I am praying for your comfort and for your sister and her family.


Debbie in CA : ) said...

You are in my prayers, dear Brenda. Having lost my son four years ago and recently having lost my mentor, I can attest to the fact that foregoing the memorial and holding the door open with the teakettle bubbling is a wise and very welcome decision. Shock and disbelief reign in the early days; loneliness sets in all too quickly and we yearn to sit over a teacup and chat with one who knew of yesterday. Get some of those yummy scones at the ready and wait for her to come calling ... she will. : )

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

These losses become more and more real the older we become. Your open door will be such a wonderful blessing in a few weeks. Take care now...

Heather L. said...

I'm sorry to hear about your Brother-in-law and do pray that God will comfort your sister and her family and the rest of you as well.

nanatrish said...

I will be praying for you and your family concerning your loss. He will be missed by his loved ones and you can remember such sweet and funny things. I am glad Christopher will be going to the dance. Please post some pictures. I know he looks so handsome in his new suit.

Quinne said...

Hi Brenda - I am so sorry to hear the news. Count on my prayers. Love, Q

freetobeme - Anita said...

I'm so glad there are graduation activities for home schoolers. It's such an important time of life. Congratulation, Christopher! I'm sure you must look handsome in your new suit! By the way, do you have a date?
I'm very sorry about your loss, Brenda. It's a sad time mixed with an exciting time.

freddie said...

I will pray for Gib, who knows to whom he's telling his jokes now... how true it's what you've written "How good it is when we can turn tears to laughter as we remembered a life well lived". I do like it when it happens and it's always a little miracle from God.
Thank you

freddie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abounding Treasures said...


Sorry for your recent loss and praying that your sister and her family are especially comforted at this time.

Thanks for sharing the photos of Christopher's *big day* :o)

Have a blessed weekend,

Abounding Treasures said...


Sorry for your recent loss and praying that your sister and her family are especially comforted at this time.

Thanks for sharing the photos of Christopher's *big day* :o)

Have a blessed weekend,

Susan B said...

Brenda, I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers go out to you and your family. God bless you.

Firefly Nights said...

I, also, am very sorry for your loss.