image from wikimedia commons
I’ve been thinking about grief lately, partly because it’s the next chapter in my Rebuilding book, and partly because I always feel grief in November, with winter coming and the anniversary of my mother’s death. This week I’ve also been remembering JFK’s assassination – where I was when I first heard about it, waiting for the bus to go home from school, and the sense of shock and disbelief. And I’ve been remembering JFK’s funeral – how we were home for a long weekend, and there was nothing else to watch on tv, so I watched the stoic veiled Jacquie, and young Caroline and little John-John in their matching powder-blue coats, and all the other sad and somber pomp and ceremony when I got tired of playing outside.
What I didn’t remember, until I happened to look it up the other day, was how that funeral occured right before the beginning of a whole string of funerals (and one birth) in my family, and the timeline of those events:
Dec 1963 – My father’s grandmother (my great-grandmother) died.
Jan 1964 – My father’s youngest child (my youngest brother) born.
Aug 1964 – My father’s father (my grandfather) died.
Dec 1965 – My father’s grandfather (my great-grandfather) died.
Nov 1966 – My father’s wife (my mother) died.
Jul 1969 – My father’s middle child (my brother Scott) died.
My, that was a lot of loss and grief for my father to go through, and for his mother and sister, my grandmother and aunt, as well. When I look at it through adult eyes, it’s no wonder that my father and my grandmother and aunt had such a tough time embracing all that impermanence in their lives during that decade.
I don’t really want to go through the exercises in that chapter on grief, but maybe I can look on it as simply another opportunity to embrace impermanence. 2 years ago