Thursday, December 06, 2007

Grief's hidden treasures


Sorry I haven't been around for a couple of days. As you may glean from my last post, I've had some personal, family stuff to deal with the last couple of days.

Unfortunately, I'm not going to make it back to my grandmother's funeral. As I was starting to write that previous sentence, I was tempted to write that I "can't make it," but the truth of the matter is it came down to a choice and I have to own that. It was an agonizing choice, made in consultation with my parents and based on their advice and after talking to my uncle. But ultimately, the choice, and whatever personal, emotional consequences it brings, is mine.

I went back and forth so many times, checking prices and talking on phones and driving myself crazy. Wanting to do the right thing for my mom, the right thing by my family. I don't know what the right thing is, but I know I feel better finally knowing what I'm doing and no longer chasing my tail.

Life is hard. Sometimes life is sad. And for some of us, life goes on.

In the oddest of ways, I have been enjoying the grieving process. Not that I enjoy the sadness or the pain. But I am remembering a lot of great things about my grandmother and reliving a lot of happy times. I'm smiling with tears in my eyes. I'm allowing myself to grieve, whereas in the past, I have suppressed my grief, only to have it reemerge months or years later in a shocking flurry.

Something came to me last night shortly after I crawled into bed about my grandmother, something that shocked and delighted me. I remembered that my grandmother had a little electric organ sitting next to her front door. Usually it was difficult to get her to slow down long enough to sit down and play it. But when she did, it was a special treat. And I flashed on a memory of my grandmother, sitting at her organ and playing "Silent Night."

Maybe that's why "Silent Night" is my favorite Christmas song. It was the one song I longed to play as I began to develop meager piano/organ playing skills.

I had completely forgotten about that organ or my grandmother playing it. Something I now know about myself, and the fabric of who I am, that I didn't know was hidden behind that little corner of my mind.

It's been a pleasant journey of discovery, remembering my grandmother as the vibrant, vital woman you shape my live in ways I may never know or realize. It makes me glad that I can remember so many things about her from happier times and that my memories need not be dominated by seeing her in her final, cruel decline. I'm glad there are so many good things that I've remembered already and will welcome any more revelations that come.

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