I've been AWOL. Not really sure why. All I know is that I've been very introspective the last week or two. I've reached a stage in my life where time seems either to stand still or move past like a blur.
Last Thursday, my Daddy celebrated his 85th birthday! Well, we celebrated it -- he tolerated it. Pepper and I took lunch to him and had a nice visit. He even agreed to come to our house on Sunday for a belated cake fest with his grandkids and great-grandkids. (Daddy has advanced COPD and requires three lung treatments per day, plus oxygen, so his trips out are few, even though he still drives during the day.) Everyone was going to be here -- what fun!
Except . . .
Except that the previous Saturday, SIL#2's 24 year-old stepbrother was gravely injured in a horrific motorcycle accident. He had been in what was supposedly a medically induced coma in ICU, undergoing tests and surgeries to stabilize his battered and broken body. His father posted photos of the Crotch Rocket, before and after, on his Facebook page. If you hadn't seen the Before photo, you wouldn't have been able to tell what was being featured in the After photo.
Daddy had already gotten here when Younger Daughter called. They had been summoned to the hospital and wouldn't be able to come over. Four hours later, Chris was gone, leaving behind a shell-shocked and grieving family, including a three year-old son. He survived deployment to Iraq, but not Interstate 440.
Time stood still for his family for more than a week.
Now, time paces inexorably forward and the healing struggles to begin. The family has a very strong faith and knows that they will all be reunited in the next plane. But, even holding onto that promising certainty, they are hurting. And we hurt for them.
Elder Daughter is also hurting for the loss of a college friend the day before the accident -- a sorority sister who always stood beside her -- and who left this world by her own hands. She grieves the loss of her friend, yet the friend's passing gave Elder Daughter the impetus to communicate with their pledge class, and, in the process, to exorcise -- in a healthy way -- some demons she's been carrying around for years.
So, even though it's Spring and life is popping out all around us, a cloud hovers over the sun.
Still, I just walked down the hall and spied a little stuffed hippopotamus (or "hickeymapotus," as Elder Daughter used to say) hanging out by a door, where Grandbaby #4 left him yesterday in all his toddler busy-ness. How can seeing that not bring a smile to the face? There is joy yet in this sometimes cruel world. And, I intend to hold onto that joy. So, here is the picture I posted to my Facebook page yesterday while the party was going on, captioned, "Pants and shoes? I don't need no stinkin' pants and shoes at Boompie's 85th birthday party!"
And time marches on, clutching joy in its weary hands.
Don't you just want to smooch that precious, innocent face?
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