Friday, May 4, 2012


You think you have it all worked out -- how to integrate the mounting losses into your daily life; how to choose to be grateful for the people you still have around you - loving you, supporting you, and reminding you why it's great to be alive. You choose to see the glass half full and count blessings, and not that which, or whom, you do not have.

And that is what I do, that is, until I get ambushed while running on the treadmill and "Back Home Again" starts playing on my mp3 player, triggering the slideshow of past performances of that song, morphing my joyful bout of singing-with-wild-abandonment-like-no-one-can-hear-you to sobs. It comes from nowhere, this overwhelming, gut-wrenching grief for everyone who cradled my childhood in love and cocooned me with the security and unconditional acceptance that is my big, remarkable family.

Scenes of my after dinner family sing-songs, Uncle Arlen playing his faithful guitar, taking requests or surprising us with, "I have a tune I think you'll like"; my mom (alto) and her sister Mugs (soprano) singing harmony with their brother and the rest of us providing choral support as we sat at their feet. Inevitably, we  got around to the family anthem, Back Home Again by John Denver, and inevitably, Uncle Arlen would get a twinkle in his eye, wink and smile as he sang "it's the sweetest thing I know of, just spending time with you".

Those moments, shared by us all, were cohesive strips binding us together. Back then, it never occurred to me that these moments were rare gifts made from a recipe of seasonal ingredients.

And so today was an emotional mash-up. I still see the faces and smiles of those who have gone before me, and more importantly, I still feel their love. And my heart still yearns to hold them. But wherever their unearthly spirits landed after their heavy earthly armor released them, I hope they found one another, and that they know they mattered and are missed. Love is eternal, and does not die.

And yes that was my egg that exploded in the microwave, and yes, my sobbing made me lose track of time thereby resulting in me exceeding my exercise goals. Whatever works ... thanks Mom.

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