Sunday, August 19, 2007


Grief, it is never easy, but in our family it takes on a whole new meaning. Every loss leads back to my mom's death. The minister mentioned at Frank's funeral that grief is the price we pay for loving someone. All of us wonder if it was too high a price to pay. At every funeral, we swap stories of both the recent death and those of my mother. Joyce, Glen and I grieved for Frank, but we also grieved again for my mother. It has been 34 years, but her death is still as real and tangible.

Sudden, unexpected death has that effect. We have no time to prepare, so it changes how we look at life. We wonder--I wonder--will those I love the most be snatched from me with no warning yet again? In my family, we love from a distance. Neither of my brother's ever married, nor will they. There is a touch of fear in our love. I love my kids and granddaughter so deeply, but sometimes I know there is a veil over that love, just in case.

At Frank's funeral, I reflected on things. How Frank saved my daughter's life. The year after my separation, the girls and I went to visit Joyce and Frank. Steph was hostile and angry, fragile and still teetering on the brink of anorexia. Frank took Steph and taught her to ride, gave her multiple trips on his quad, puttered in his work room with her, and loved her unconditionally. That's just the kind of man he was. But he saved her life. If I'd told him that, he would have said "there are no bad kids, only kids that did bad things."

Glen and I also talked about how grief affected my mother's life. Losing her husband when she was only twenty-one, I now recognize how that changed her. How she also loved us deeply and unconditionally, but from a bit of a distance. Now, I have a chance to change things, to love without the veil. Elizabeth has a spirit so similar to my mother's. She is energetic, passionate and loving they way my mother would have been without the veil of grief. I have a chance to see how my mother would have been.