Sunday, June 13, 2010

Keep It Up

My sister asked me if I was going to continue this blog now that our mother has been gone for over a year and I started this to deal with the emotions that consumed us as we cared for her and grieved our loss of her. It's a good question and one I thought a lot about over the past week, this past week when I sat next to a friend at a meeting and she told me of her sadness as her father suffered another setback in his cancer treatment. I thought about it again as a woman who works in the office next to mine stopped in to tell me how helpful the blog was to her as she lost her mother last month. And then there was Friday evening as I sat with friends I haven't seen for a long time and heard about a friend's sorrow over first his father's then his mother's dementia. Or the article another friend wrote about her grief and how she has survived that year of 'firsts' following her mother's death. There are more, it surrounds me.

I will continue the blog, I will continue to write about my mother, my family, my friends and any number of topics that strike me. As you can see, those of you who have been following for a while, I changed the look of the blog, brightened it a bit, changed it. That's what this is all about, isn't it? Change?

The grief, the love, the caring doesn't stop simply because time has passed. I miss my mother and know that there are many who miss their mother or father or grandmother or grandfather or others they loved. Grief is not fast or simple, it is long and complex and unlike all the other experiences we have in our lives, no one teaches us how to do it. Because of this we are left to find our own way through it and that is what I have tried to do here, find my way. In doing this I hope I have helped a few of you find yours, too.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Greatest Generation

Today my sister and I stood in the morning sun and said farewell to a friend. Not just a friend of ours, a friend of our father. A friendship forged in childhoods shaped by the Great Depression. A friendship further solidified in the Navy during World War II and Korea. A friendship strengthened still through marriages to the women they loved. A friendship beyond children and jobs. A friendship beyond death. Today we buried Phil.

This generation of theirs, this Greatest Generation, evaporates before us and we are helpless against this, helpless as they leave us one by one and take with them the honor and integrity they carried so easily. Lives lived in constant thought and purpose for others. Lives lived in quiet service.

This friendship between our father and Phil lived in our childhood and lived so intently we are unable to separate from it, unable to think of our history without including it. We learned friendship from their example and theirs was a good one. At the funeral today people learned a piece of this history.

We buried Phil in the same cemetery as my parents, not just the same cemetery, the grave beside my father. This was not the original lot Phil bought, not where he planned to be. When our father died, we grieved not only for us and what we lost, but for Phil and what he lost. Without his childhood friend, without his "Bucky", Phil lived the pain of loss and it was this loss that drove him to move his grave.

And so today, in the warmth of the sun and the company of Phil's family, we laid him to rest beside our father. We stood together with Phil's wife, nieces and nephews and smiled at the thought that these men, these lifelong friends were again together. As the Navy Honor Guard played taps and held the flag, we said goodbye to another of the generation before us. That Greatest Generation.