My usual drive in to work covers back country roads. Today they are beautiful and snowy. The farm fields are freshly dusted white and the roads are clear. I enjoy the ride in silence I watch the sun rise orange between the grey clouds and blue sky. It’s breathtaking.
As my mind become still… I reflect on a recent trip with my parents, careful to replay each moment in order of occurrence.
There is so much to process. To unpack.
The sights, sounds, smells…the conversations…
My mother is the youngest of five children. She has one living brother who is in poor health. We made the three hour drive to see him. Two cousins (whose father passed away in November) were also visiting from their home in the Deep South. Another cousin and aunt came to visit (the aunt, in her full length, sable mink, coat…she dressed for the occasion and that makes me smile).
The purpose of the trip:
And above all else… love.
We did plenty of all of that.
Without going too long on the subject…because I can’t put words to the emotion and because some of it is too private, we visited together for almost 10 hours.
What began with a quiet lunch,
polite exchanges, some hugs and kisses, and authentic kielbasa sandwiches
became an afternoon tea complete with pecan, cranberry and lemon straws – a gift from the southerners,
sharing old family photos/identifying forgotten relatives
which evolved into a rowdy evening card game and the largest pizza I’ve ever seen.
merciless teasing – mostly aimed at me, mild annoyances and belly aching laughter
They called it “the stupid card game”. They play it whenever they get together. They played when Uncle Eddie was with them on his last visit.
This is where the healing could be felt the most -to me anyway. Healing through laughter and telling and retelling of stories…through cajoling and pestering, all done with love…through silliness and sadness and the punchiness that sets in when you’ve had a long day.
We all felt grief and sadness release its hold a bit that night. We felt Uncle Eddie’s presence in the humor and wit we shared. And we saw some flickers of spirited-ness from Uncle Bob, because card games have a way of bringing vigor to the weary.
The visit ended with a round of good byes, proper hugs and see-you-soons.
A larger family reunion is definitely in order, but I doubt it will happen. I prefer the crowded kitchen table and eye to eye discussions over full on family gatherings, anyway. It would be lovely to reacquaint with all of the cousins and their families, but it will have to be one family at a time.
And I enjoyed that stupid card game…because Uncle Bob laughed.