“The common thread that binds all humanity is human pain…” ~Dean Nixon
Today I said goodbye to my Grandma, well actually I said goodbye to her one week ago today. I will forever have my last moment with her etched in my memories. I knew that it would most likely be the last time I saw her, so I intentionally soaked up her smile and the twinkle in her eye as I looked back at her before leaving her doorway.
But today was her funeral. I wasn’t sad for my Grandma, I knew she was ready, and she is with my Grandpa now, but tears of love and memories flooded as it marked the end of our time together. By the time the service ended my tears had dried and I had the most surreal moment in that church today. I only hope I can get my heart on paper. Some feelings you just can’t put into words, but I will try.
I had gotten separated from the majority of my aunts and uncles so my family sat a few rows back. When the service finished I was able to see each one of my aunts and uncles walk out of the church one by one. I have so much love for all of them. You could tell time had touched them trimming their hair in silver and decorating their faces with a few laugh lines (I am not surprised, the Metts’ are known for laughing). While we have all been on separate paths for the last couple of decades I can still hear the echoes of them laughing together. As I watched each of them, my mind was flooded with memories, especially memories of pool parties at Grandma and Grandpas. Cousins everywhere, and aunts and uncles that I knew loved me. Not just because they told me all the time but because I could feel it. For just a few seconds it seemed as if I was placed directly into a memory. I can still feel the bristly green outdoor carpet on my feet and that place in my armpit where those orange floaties kept digging into it. I can see the moment I stepped onto the diving board for the first time, surprisingly it felt like someone painted it with sand, not at all how I imagined it. My grandpa walked over to me, his chest sprinkled with grey hair and tiny beads of sweat while my dad and one of my uncles treaded water assuring me they would catch me. My mom sat off to the side with my grandma a couple of my aunts. The smell of hot dogs and chlorine permeated the air and there was laughter, so much laughter. All at once the sun faded and the laughter seemed further away and there I was watching my aunts and uncles follow each other out of that church. It was the first time I had seen them all together in years, and my heart just loved them. I have seen over the years that it can be hard for families to maintain those close bonds. The responsibilities of each individual family monopolizes the days, and soon Christmas parties are divided among their own. While I see the need for this, I do miss the days all of us all piled in that one room at my Grandpa and Grandmas, I can still feel the thick white tights on my legs as I squeeze through my aunts and uncles to run after my cousin up the stairs. But today, together again, it is in these moments of human pain, that we rely on family and realize that no matter what. NO matter the busy lives, and no matter the differences, or even disagreements, there is a bond of love within a family, not because they told me, but because I could feel it. Sometimes our mind tells us the tales of woes… but our hearts will always connect us to the love. And even if time races by before I see them all again, I will always love that family of mine.
“Your love lives on through us all Grandma.”