Thursday, December 20, 2007

Like It Didn't Happen

Sometimes that's how I feel now. Like the last 9 years never happened at all. And that I am busily erasing all evidence that mom and dad even lived. And that my childhood here on the farm never happened at all except in my memories and those are fading more quickly than I care to admit.

I know my brother feels this way, too. I remember so clearly the day he came down with his kids and he walked on the ground that was then still the farm. The big barn was gone then but the little barn that my grandfather built was still there. The granary was there still and the old garage although it was falling down. A few fences were still there. I watched him walk out there on the native grass with his kids. The kids didn't understand but I did. Dad was with me then and we watched together. But Dad didn't understand either. It was so sad to me and recalling the event even now at least 3 years since makes me sad again.

I felt the same emotion the time I took Dad to his old home place where he spent his childhood and watched him walk away from me down the old road to the house. It is such a lonely feeling. It is that feeling that things are changing and they will never be the same.

Dad and Mom are both gone now. The house they built together and the things they used and enjoyed every day are still there but won't be for long. Maybe some of their things I can take with me to the new house. Maybe the rest I will store for some future generation that has interest in old stuff.

When someone talks to me now they never mention the caregiving or my dad or my mom or the old farm. It has only been three months since Dad left. Really I thought he might stay longer. But I'm glad he left before it got any worse than it was. Sometimes I wish I could have missed that time because it was difficult to watch him at the end. But I don't really mean it even when I think it.

Really I wish I had been there with him when he died. I intended to be. I wanted to be. The Lord knew that, too. But I trust the Lord about it. Still, if I had known he was so close I would not have left him. But I didn't know and I did leave and he left while I was gone and that's good.

Then I wonder if I miss him or if I miss the doing for him. It must be something similar to what a mother feels when her children grow up enough to leave. It is hard enough for fathers or at least it was for me but I think it must be harder for moms. I think I have just a taste of it with losing dad and mom after the caregiving. After all it is the mothers' bodies that bear the children they must eventually lose and that's an element it is not possible for me to comprehend. Nor do I want to understand it either.

This is not the first time I've thought about such things. Some years ago I worried about my ancestors and especially about forgetting them. I put as many birth and death dates into my calendar as I could find. It soon overwhelmed me though and I only did a fraction of them because I could only find that many. I only found as many as I did because someone else had done the research. I visited the cemetery where 226 years ago one of my fathers was buried. I know a little about his father but not very much and nothing before him. It bothers me that there are so many lives in my own descent that are forgotten. Or maybe they're not and it is just my thinking that's wrong.

They were like me and you. They lived with joy and suffering and pain and pleasure. They loved and laughed and cried and hurt and hated and forgave and worried and all the other things we humans do. They were common. And yet as common as any of us are we are also so uniquely spectacular. Each person is just like a fantastic nebulae. But nebulae don't last forever either.

And now I see my own parents joining that great forgotten group. In a few years it will be my turn to join them.

Even if you do something so noteworthy that someone decides to record stuff about you they don't really catch the essence of your humanity or maybe better your humanness. Not that it is anyone's fault because how does one communicate the joy of a little boy playing catch with his pop or riding in the old truck across the pasture? I don't know how to do it for sure.

Yesterday I watched the video my son made of two of my grandchildren participating in their church's Christmas program. It lasted nearly 45 minutes. It was called "Angel Alert" and it is a story of the birth of Christ from the point of view of the angel choir. The basic idea is that the angels are practicing so when the call comes they can head to earth and announce the arrival of the King as it is recorded in Scripture. Grade school kids were the actors and parents were the directors and producers and other parents made the set and so on. It was not professional by any means but that only added to the genuineness of the performance. I kept thinking just how marvelous the program was and what a miracle that I was able to watch it by video.

My granddaughter had a solo singing part and my grandson had a speaking part. He had to tell Michael "I have a message for you sir." It was so cute.

I thought that my dad and mom would have enjoyed seeing it and watching their great grandchildren.

Does kind of make you think of the circle of life in the Lion King. Each generation does have to give way to the next. Eventually I believe that will not be true and then I don't know what it will look like but no need to worry about that now.

Watching that video made me feel better. I'd post it somewhere but it is 45 minutes and 9 Gb and I have no intention of editing it.

Thinking of my blog friends today.


~Betsy said...

Oh Flinty - I so understand what you mean. I keep thinking about your use of the word parentheses to describe these years. I suppose in a way, that's true.

However, I believe that folks are never forgotten if you keep the love and honor in your heart; even those who died 226 years ago. You honor this man simply by remembering he lived.

I think this time of year causes great reflection for all of us. I know it does for me. I also think when you begin the task of clearing out the farm house, you will be overwhelmed by the memories. For me, it was a horrendous job. I pray you have the strength and you don't try to do all of it yourself or in short order. Allow your memories to occur and you will feel better. By pushing them away, I think we do a disservice to ourselves - and our loved ones.

You are in my heart and on my mind today as I can see from your post you are a little blue. Stay strong, friend.

cornbread hell said...

terry this is a very moving post to me. thanks.

SKYGIRL said...

Dear Terry.I am sorry you are feeling badly. While reading your post, I thought about a service at Church. They had this big red banner draw across the stage, up by the ceiling, and a star, saying "You Are Here" Like they do in a shopping center. The point our Pastor tried to make was that 'speck' was our lives on Earth, and that behind it and way, way in front, was our spiritual lives.

It goes by so fast, even if we live to a ripe old age. His other point is are you living this life, for this life on Earth? Or preparing for your Spiritul Life, in Heaven?

I know that you are living for your Spiritual life, and a good Christian, kind, loving, life. We miss people terriby becase they are no longer here with us, in their Earthly body, but I know you believe that this is not the only game in town. It just seems like it is, because we can see, touch, feel it, it is tangable (Sorry, spelling) I often wonder how others, that do not believe in life after life, can handle losing a Loved One? It is hard enough even knowing what we do?

I hope it gives you some peace to know that you are a great guy, you were and are a great Son, & Father & Grandfather & Husband & Christian, as they say, it is not when you were born, and when you die, that is so important, it is the *Dash* no matter how long or short, that really matters.

*(¯`·¸*Chris*¸·´¯)* said...

I like that "dash" comment. Hits home with me tonight.

Just today I was looking at some very old photos of people I have no idea who they are. I looked into their eyes. wondering who they were, what part of the lineage did they belong, did they have kids, had they ever been in love, were they happy in many odd thoughts crossed my mind.

I think one of the coolest monents I could have is just to sit down and pick your brain for a while. I am convinced my dad would have enjoyed doing just that.

My best to you my friend. I'm glad you are present inside that dash in my life.

nancy said...

i wish you wouldn't dwell too much on the fact that you weren't physically present with your dad when he died. i'm convinced he knew you had been there for him through his entire journey and i also believe some people want to die alone.

i found your post very interesting about remembering previous generations. just yesterday i told bob this Christmas eve i would like to sit down with both matt & mark and relate stories to them about our grandparents and great grandparents so that hopefully a small part of them would be remembered. we used to always spend Christmas eve with my parents and this Christmas eve it will just be the 4 of us.

i will be thinking and praying especially for you tomorrow my friend.

Lori1955 said...

I really don't care if future generations remember me. The only thing I have ever cared about is that when I die I want to know that at least one person's life was made better because I was in it. And I know that my life has been made better because all of you have been in it.

Joanne D. Kiggins said...

The fact that you're reflecting on your relatives keeps the circle of life in motion, Terry.

I'll be keeping you in my thoughts today. (hugs))

Dee said...

Beautiful post. So true -- we are really here for such a short time and then we are dust! D

nancy said...

just wanted to let you know i've been thinking of you today and hope your memories were sweet ones. take care.

~Betsy said...

I am also thinking of you today, Terry.