I have lost one of my blog readers. She was a faithful friend to each of us Bents. Fern, though we always called her “Fernie”. A vibrant woman, she was a continual example of charity, fortitude, love, generosity, laughter, and so much more. She was one of my cheerleaders in life. She was also Cole’s, Brian’s, and Esther’s cheerleader. She gave us a sense of family, right here on our block. I would, occasionally, take my afternoon cup of joe and walk to Fernies house to sit in her beautifully kept living room or sunshiny, avian friendly backyard. And just like that, a few days before we head to Sacramento for my grandmother Ella’s funeral, Fernie herself traipsed to Heaven.
I know in my head that living until you die is a true gift. I have seen life taken from the body one function at a time until the angel of light finally emerges. My grandmother, like Fern, was an avid quilter. Having the ability to use her fingers and hands removed from her was a great hardship she bore. Fern didn’t have time to bear those type of physical inconveniences. Her time to be with our heavenly father came very quickly. And though I understand she is the lucky one, I am so broken up about her being gone. Brian is broken up, Cole is broken up, and Esther is as well. And today our rental van awaits our departure to Sacto…
Swinging low feels bad. I began this 2012 so hopeful that the emotional burdens of 2011 would fall off my shoulders and I would find a new spring in my step. Instead, I have unleashed an ability to curse that is new to me (yes Stacey, your debt is now paid in full). Instead of smiling at offending drivers and blowing them kisses, I’m daydreaming of bashing in their windshields with a sledgehammer, or having my neighbor Mark (the laser engineer), devise a watch-like device that shoots tranquilizing darts at people who display inconsiderate arrogance. Not to mention I actually let Betty Cranker out of her cage this week…and though Brian has only heard me use the “F-word” once or twice in our 24 something years together, in one hour–a couple of days ago–he could have sworn in court the word was a common place adjective. In essence, swinging low is not so great.
And as I think of why I am so emotionally depleted, I think of the women I mourn and the losses they have suffered and the joy they continued to emanate. Their very manner reminds me I don’t want to turn into the crotchety woman who, like the old man yesterday with scrunched face–big black eyebrows smuushed almost on top of his lips– yelled at me from his open car window, “IDIOT”, because I didn’t move fast enough out of his way in my newly acquired minivan rental, sees life through a negative lens and terrorizes those around her. No, I want to “lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help” (Psalm 121:1). I want to smile in hardship and I don’t want to take on the mouth of a sailor. I once was going to write a saying on the wall above our kitchen table. I wanted it to subliminally ingrain itself into Cole’s adolescent mind. I never did get the verbiage on the wall, but I have memorized it; and apparently I am the one who needed it engrained in my mind (for you word aficionados, engrained and ingrained are both correct spellings):
“Be careful what you think, for your thoughts become your words. (True, I used to only think cuss words…now they’re audible). Your words become your actions. Your actions become your character…and character is everything.” Thankfully, I don’t carry a sledgehammer in my car!
I know it is a part of life to mourn. All I ask, dear Lord, is to please give us a break for a while. Let us mourn but please let joy fill our hearts and may your peace be in us.