April 5, 2008

goodbye thoughts

I come here because I know that the only way for me to process this and wiggle my way out of the fog, is to write. I know someday I will want a trail to follow - a way to see how far I've come from where I am today. I guess that is truly the reason for this blog. To build history. For someone years from now to know the how and the why of the things I did. Even if the only someone is me.

There is a lot of suffering in the previous generation of my family. For a long time, I have relentlessly pursued the details - not wanting that suffering to be in vain. In the process, I have adopted that suffering and carry it with me. It recently dawned on me that I do not need to hold on to the suffering for it to be real or valid. It is my suffering, and it is not mine. Jesus Christ came and suffered so we do not have to. Will there still be suffering? Yes. But he has paid the price. The mercy and grace of God is ours because he suffered for us. That mercy and grace covers all the suffering on this side of Heaven. The hard part is letting it go - letting it be washed in the blood that was shed for me. I feel like I had to carry that past suffering for it to be redeemed, just as I have thought I need to carry my sins down this road of life in order to be redeemed. The a-ha moment for me yesterday is that both things are redeemed, not by my power, but by the power of Jesus Christ. Nothing, nothing I can do is stronger than that.

These thoughts have been triggered by the news that my father's brother has died. He died in mid-March. He didn't have a phone. He was eccentric. They could not find my contact information in his apartment - if they looked. They placed an ad in the paper looking for me, and I didn't see it. The deputy coroner waited a week, waiting...and when no one responded, they buried my uncle in the pauper's cemetary in an unmarked grave. Does the sadness of my family ever end? Do the feelings of failure ever end for me? I tried so hard to connect with this man, so like my father in so many ways, and he spoke of the delight of knowing each other, but he ran away from connections. Only on his terms would he be comfortable. Those terms were never clear, nor consistent. The last time I saw him, I knew it wouldn't be long. Down deep, I recognized the same patterns of conversation that so mimicked those last few precious conversations with my dad, almost 10 years ago. And like my father, he withdrew even more - more aware that the time was coming than he knew.

His heart stopped. And with that, the last full blood relation I have on that side of my family is gone. I'm sad. To not have more time. I'm mad. He didn't fight, knowing he could have prolonged his life. I'm relieved. The generation of suffering is at rest. I'm frustrated. There's a mess he left behind and I have to help fix it. I'm hurt. All the pain of my father's death has rushed back to the surface of my heart. I grieve for all these boys didn't have. For the time I didn't have with them. For the lack of depth that they found acceptable.

He loved to talk about his mom. Not many people had much respect for her. To me, she was the center of the suffering. The center of the mystery. I craved information about her. He knew that. I don't know if that's why he talked about her so much with me - or if he was wondering back to a time and place when someone loved him unconditionally. She wasn't capable of much, but I'm sure she loved her boys with all her heart. Call it a guess, but a mom's heart can go through quite a lot and that mom love is still very much intact. I don't think he ever felt that love again.

All I can do is see him in my mind's eye, the day before he had his surgery. It's been two and a half years from that time. I couldn't find him and out of the blue, there he was. Sick. In another hospital room. The same skin tone as my dad. It threw me for such a loop then. And now, all I can do is see him there, shaking his leg like I'm so accustomed to doing, scared to death. This little package of a man. I've only seen two men display fear in my whole life - and it's the two men who spent their entire lives building walls to conceal the fear. And in a matter of days, I was thrust to the center of their souls - and I saw the raw fear. Two men. Two different times. The tears came both times. For both of us. I reached deep both times to comfort a man I barely knew. I tried hard to bridge that gap of neglect and hurt, to reach into the heart of the matter, and bring peace. With my father, the first time, I didn't mention Jesus. I was afraid. But you better believe I did the second time. I would not let another one slip away. And I don't know where he stood at the end, when his time on earth was through, but I can tell you he knew that Jesus loved him and wanted to meet him right where he was. Oh, how I pray he reached out for Jesus.

Rest in peace, my uncle. No more fighting to survive. No more pain. No more loneliness. No more searching. It's over. You've run your race. You are whole in a way you've never been, just like Dad. And while I'll miss you both, and wonder what could have, should have, might have been, I know you both are far better off now than you've ever been. And someday soon, I will be happy about that.

3 rays through the fog:

No Cornflake Chels said...

A perfect eulogy.

If you need me, call. :) Hugs, girl.

Bev said...

Andrea, I was talking recently with a group of girlfriends, and one was sharing the horribly hurtful situation she has with her parents, her mother in particular, who is bi-polar and very hurtful, pretty much abusive. I told her we all have family situations that are hurtful, every one of us has at least one relation that we so wish their life was different or our relationship with them was different, or we could help, or they would change. Hopefully sharing this with you will make you feel less alone in your family situation. I'm sure many,many of us can relate too well to this. Praying for you to be comforted.

Barb said...

I can't say it better than my sister Bev did, Andrea. She's so right.

This is a beautiful, though heart breaking, post and I'm very, very sorry for your loss. I know you take comfort in knowing both the "boys" are in a far better place now, happy and at peace.

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