Waiting to Exhale

I’m ready to turn the corner, to leave this chapter of our lives in the soft dust, and only re-visit it when I’m feeling really strong. I’m ready for some sunlight on my path and some gentle curves to our road. I’m ready to walk in the spring clover and sing a John Denver or Jerry Garcia song and feel giddy and silly again. I’m ready to play with my children and hold my husbands hand without peering from behind a veil of pain and nausea. I’m ready for some ease and simple, quiet… exhaling.

My grandpa’s funeral was this morning, at 9 a.m. in Arlington National Cemetery. My whole family was there, and from what they tell me, the service was incredibly moving and deeply symbolic. They took some photos for me, and I’m looking forward to seeing them. The funeral was full-military honors- with a caison, 21 gun salute, a military band, the honor guard and the ceremonial division who bear the casket and perform the flag ceremony. Taps was played. I cannot imagine not being shaken deeply by the entire ceremony and the incredible honor bestowed upon this man who was my grandpa. I so very much wish I could have been there.

This afternoon my husband’s father died. It is not my pain to share, so I will just keep it to that simple statement. My husband has a healthy and spiritual view on death, however, this has still been a very painful day for him, and we have a few long and emotional days coming up. I wish I could take some of the crushing weight from his shoulders- He is the head of our family, supporting an ill and very pregnant wife who cannot even drive, awaiting the birth of his 3rd child any day, recently begun a new position at work, and dealing with the death of a parent. I feel so helpless to help this man who means the world to me.

Yesterday, a friend said if she didn’t know me, she wouldn’t believe my life. I wish sometimes I were making this stuff up- but I couldn’t- it wouldn’t be believable. Occasionally, I think after this baby comes and life does soften up a little, you all won’t recognize me anymore. It’s kind of like watching a train wreck- “What else awful is happening today?” You just can’t look away… Someone else told me that I am providing service to others, in that I am able to show them how good their lives are. While I can’t figure out how to make that into sunshine, I think I appreciate the oddness of the compliment…

On my refridgerator, I have a quote I’ve had for years. It’s one of my very favorite, by Zora Neale Hurston, and it says: “There are years that ask questions, and there are years answer”. When I was younger, that seemed so profound to me, and so simple. Now, I just wonder where we are.

18 thoughts on “Waiting to Exhale

  1. Tracy,

    I am so sorry. Your 2006 is like our 2005. It is a lot for one family to deal with (and all in the same few months). I wish tere was seomthing I could do…but all I can do is let you know that while the journey through this isn’t very fun, you have the support of friends and family to get you to the other side.

    Please tell you husband that he is in our prayers. This is an devistating thing no matter how old you are…..

  2. You know, I didn’t mean this post to be so sad- I was actually feeling rather soft and tender when I wrote it- but I can see, re-reading it, how it really can be taken different ways.

    I can actually see the tiny star of light at the end of the tunnel, and it gives me great hope. We have many blessings for which to be thankful and grateful, not the least of which is our family, our wonderful busy boys, our health, our home, our faith, the love of each other, the blessing of a new baby on the way, gainful employment and on and on…

    Thanks to all of you for the love and prayers you send our way. We can feel them.

  3. To fallen soldiers, let us sing.
    Where no rockets fly, nor bullets wing.
    Our broken brothers, let us bring
    To the Mansions of the Lord.

    No more bleeding, no more fight.
    No prayers pleading through the night.
    Just divine embrace, eternal light
    In the Mansions of the Lord.

    I pass by Arlington most every day – your Grandfather now lies with heroes.

    Prayers for you Tracy. I’m sure the answer years will come soon.

  4. I was pregnant when my brother and then my sister died, and my daughter was born just a few weeks after my sister died. I wrote to a friend who was on a mission about all the stress, and he pointed out how interesting it was that in the middle of all that loss a new life was starting. The whole circle-of-life thing.

    Catherine has always been like a ray of sunshine for everyone who knows her. She brought a lot of joy to our family when we needed it most.

  5. Two things-
    #1 – THIS TOO SHALL PASS. It will end, you will exhale, and just look back and go, whoa.

    #2. I don’t know why, but it seems very often that a birth and a death are often close, timing wise. I second the ‘circle of life’ comment. They both bring you so close to heaven, and make you ask the hard questions.

    Peace to you, Tracy.

  6. Prayers for you and your family during these times Tracy. I’m so glad that through all this you can see the glimmer at the end of the tunnel. You must have great faith.

  7. Tracy and family,

    Deep peace of the running wave to you. Deep peace of the flowing air to you. Deep peace of the quiet earth to you. Deep peace of the shining stars to you. Deep peace of the gentle night to you; moon and stars pour their beaming light on you. Deep peace of Christ, the light of the world, to you.

  8. Not sure where this ranks doctrinally, but I would like to think that your FIL is up there playing with the child waiting to be born (unsure if the spirit is already in the baby – you get the picture though).

    My prayers with your family (and that that kid will come out soon).

  9. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss in your family. I thought your post was beautifully writen, and very appropriate for the sorrow in your home at the moment. Death and Birth there is something so intertwined between the two. I once heard a great comment that birth is like death as we leave the home above, and death here is like birth there as we return. Thank you for your beautiful writing and I hope that baby comes soon.

  10. I KNEW there was a reason I was thinking about you in the temple today. Your name is on the prayer roll. Just wish I had thought to put your husband’s.

    I thought, “Hey, Tracy needs this, she must be having her baby!”

    Sorry that wasn’t it.

  11. Aw, Tracy. There is that small bright star shining brightly in the distance. Hold on a bit longer and you’ll be delivered from this burden. I am glad you’ve shared with all of us. Archive it. Five years from now, you’ll be grateful you did. It will be a different time and you’ll look back and be amazed at what you’ve gone through.

    Peace. Good memories. Love. Big hugs to you.

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