Anniversary

It’s hard to count my blessings today, though they are many.  It is the anniversary of significant loss for my family: the day my step-father died.  He was a generous, kind-hearted, quirky man with a heart for friendship.  He never once complained as he was dying.  Though his body betrayed him, his spirit held strength, dignity, resolve right to the end.  If you could get past his physical state–his body literally wasting away–you could forget that he was ill.  He kept us laughing until a few hours before he died.  He kept us together.  It is only since his death that we have come to realize that this man was the glue for us.  He tethered us with trains, antiques, boating, skiing, snowmobiling,barbeques, “date night” with our mother which some of us so often would crash…and it has been since his death that we have wandered around, bumping into each other.  We recognize ourselves collectively: “family”, yet we are individually forever changed.  Subtle yet obvious.  Perhaps it would be easier today, perhaps memories would comfort but for the torrent of other griefs woven together with his death.  If it was just him we mourned–but it is a web of loss, begun with him.  We miss those moments of everyday,  of which he captured so often on film and kept record within his journals.  We have our memories.  We have those photographs and stories; “the log never lies”.  We have so many objects, collections of cars, tools, books, watches…on and on, so many objects, now stored away and without meaning because he is gone.  He, who we realize now, was the meaning.  And his death was a beginning, though we did not know it at the time.  It was the beginning of a path into the certain “valley of the shadow of death” for all of us.   The splintering which began when he breathed his last has become shards scattered far and wide.  We are shattered by divorce and sudden deaths which havelatham taken some of the remainder of us and  by  other changes we could never have foreseen and would have run from had we known.  The work now is begun, these two years later, to find those fragments we recognize.  We hand pieces of ourselves to each other.  We exchange the slivers we carry, unrecognizable, hoping for identification.  Some of this comes as we continue to gather in similar ways to what has always been.  Some of this comes in the quiet of our hearts when we realize it will never be as it has always been.  Still, we have this hope: that those pieces will fit back together yet create a new form.  It will be familiar enough to comfort us yet different enough to make us constantly aware of our loss.  We will someday see it as the vessel which has carried us through our grief as we greet each other in the light of another day.  We will gather and count our collective blessings, realizing that they are what binds us now in this new form.  We will say yes, and love remains.

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17 Comments on “Anniversary”

  1. wisetrout Says:

    Reblogged this on Wisetrout's Blog and commented:

    Five years later and I still walk around with my heart in pieces…

  2. Chris Fleming Says:

    As much as we want to see, touch, hold and listen to Lath; we can’t. However, that doesn’t mean he’s not there when we get together. Friends and family come together in come together in very profound ways and those bonds are deeper for his absence. We are better people for knowing Latham, and a stronger family because we love him.

  3. Sandy Says:

    Susan,

    You are such a great writer! I am really enjoying reading your blog and looking forward to your first book!

  4. Claire Glassman Says:

    beautiful and special

  5. Don Penney Says:

    Susan Wow, Jen told me to read this. How true that he was the glue. My eyes tear everytime I see a photo of Lath. Still can’t believe he is gone. Sometimes I wish it was years ago when we were all in Barrington or on the lake in “Governors Lady” God those were good days. Seems so long ago. I just saw a picture of Lath with Andy, and a bunch with Debbie at the Apple Picking. Everything is so different now. Still remember the day I went to WDH to see him after an ambulance call. He told me they were sending him home because he had about 2-3 days. He said to me “I guess I will go home and do it to it.” Just like he always said. Still miss him so much. Love to all Don

  6. Ryan Watson Says:

    Who knew that 2 years of hurt could be explained so beautifuly. Lath truly was our glue. I have never met a more interesting, caring, forgiving man in my life. My father and grandfather all wrapped up in one caring soul that you have so perfectly described. Thank you Sue. Although I am in tears it is so nice to remember all of the wonderful things that made the years of my life with Lath so great. ~Love you~

  7. John Bowe Says:

    Hi Susan, The tribute was beyond beautiful, read it a couple of times, so not to miss anything. You’ve said all that Latham was, and will be remembered for. Thank you for letting me read and think back of all the great rides he and I had over the years. Please keep in touch, Thank You, John

  8. MaryJayne Boyd Says:

    Susan, I’m so glad your Mom sent this to me. You’ve all had such a difficult two years without Latham, but I believe he would be so proud of you. This is beautifully written and it brought me to tears. But it also brought smiles and fond memories of a most wonderful man. Thank you.

  9. Tom & Diana Says:

    Susan–what a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man–we will miss our friend. Keep writing–you have a gift!!!

  10. Tammy Says:

    As a child, my life was a series of hurts and regrets. But Latham was someone who came into my life (albeit briefly) and gave me fond memories during a time I had none. I will forever be grateful to him and your wonderful family for giving me that gift. Thanks for this wonderful tribute to a man that was a sweet, giving soul..

  11. Sam Goodall Says:

    My dear Susan, I’m so moved by your sharing so eloquently what is in your heart and mind. You have a gift of expression that not many have, but more pointedly for me you *are* a gift, a beautiful, loving person in this world whom I’m utterly blessed to call my dear friend. Thank you for being a light in this world and bright light in my life, and thank you for opening your heart as you have and do. Keep writing, my friend! Love you~

  12. Eric Says:

    Susan, such an amazing piece. If there were only a cell signal in heaven.

  13. Lesley Cruz Says:

    Susan, this is a simply beautiful tribute. You are an amazingly talented writer and we are all so lucky that you are sharing your gift with us. Thank you!

  14. Griffin Simmons Says:

    Mom, that was so beautiful, I don’t know what to say. . . I love you so much.

  15. Ariel Hyatt Says:

    This is a gorgeous post. I look forward to more!

    Love from New York.

  16. Jennifer Penney Says:

    Susan, That is beautiful and you have written straight from my own heart words I could not. I love you very much.


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