In retrospect, I’ve tried to accurately portray the events that visited our family this summer. My inability to write was something I hadn’t experienced before, and the extended silence speaks volumes. But life goes on, as it will.
I’m a little numb when trying to recall details, but what I do know is that we were deeply cared for. The kids and I were supported, and given room to just feel whatever we needed to feel. The love and grace granted to us is a credit to Jon and his entire family. Siblings stopped by with treats, I was joined on the porch and just sat with in silence more than once, and we bumbled through those hard hours somehow.
When I was younger, long before we got married, David sat with me. I had just been through a terribly painful experience—one of those where you imagine you won’t survive and you can’t remember how to breathe. He was present with me. He gently told me to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and it would be okay. He walked with me. He bore witness to my sorrow, and was just there. That time ended up being formative to my sense of self. I could live through things that hurt like hell, and that taking those steps, even when you don’t know where you will land, is vital to a meaningful life.
It was Jon’s family who walked with us on those first tender days, and I am certain David saw the poetic beauty, and was grateful with me.
One evening, Jon’s baby sister Mookie and her husband Dave came over—they have two young boys and a golden retriever, and are about the cutest family ever. Dave had been thinking of my kids, and wanted to give them something lighthearted and fun to focus on for a while. He’d spent the day fashioning a hydraulic rocket launcher from PVC piping and empty pop bottles. Setting up in Grandma and Grandpa’s driveway, the kids were excited to hook up the hose and the air compressor to his crazy contraption and blast water rockets out over the pasture. There was laughter and joy, and much searching for spent rockets, to refill and re-launch. I think a few landed on the roof…
Dave also builds mini-drones. He brought one his aircraft, fitted with a camera, and let the kids wear the visor so they could experience flying over the family land, see themselves from the air, and buzz grandpa’s flagpole. Grandma and grandpa joined us outside, while the chickens hid from the chaos, and the sheep named Maverick was baffled by the plastic pop bottles that kept dropping from the sky.
My children were looking up, and they were smiling.
Had you sampled the tears on my cheeks, you’d have found a kalidescope—grief, gratitude, laughter, and relief that life would, in fact, go on. We are in the very best hands, in every direction… including up.
(Bean now, and probably forever after, calls Dave Uncle Rocket.)