Thursday, July 17, 2008


One of the hardest things about grief has to be the monumental leap you make from the bosom of your family as you return to the "real world" of work, daily routine, stopped up drains, and unweeded gardens. As our family moved through the rituals of grief, the memorial service for the family at my uncle's home, the public visitation at the funeral home, the family dinner afterward, there was a sense that we were all moving together, on some sort of boat asea in our emotions. Wholly apart from the shoreline of the real world. Our tribe was questing on their own adventure, a journey very different from the civilized world.

And so, returning home after this sort of mountain-top experience (damn if I'm not just mixing metaphors all over the place), was a bit lonely. Where were the other two babies crawling or toddling around on the floor with Grayson for the past few days? Where did I see blue eyes similar to my own sparkling at me without looking in a mirror? Who else understood the gentleness and simplicity of my grandfather? Who else could understand his prejudices and faults as products of his upbringing, and recognize the man who he became in spite of, or even because of them? Who else laughed at memories of cherry-pit spitting contests and believed in a family which was taught to be "poor but respectable?" Who else learned that "pulling Grandpa's finger" was a recipe for disaster of the most odiferous kind?

There are things I do not share with this tribe. There are ways in which they do not know me. I would imagine that my political beliefs might be deemed suspect, and that my ideas about religion might be deemed heresy by some of my Miller kin. My cousins could probably not tell you my favorite books, nor could they know exactly how to comfort me in the midst of chaos, but somehow the fierce ties of family offer sacred haven to me which continue to undergird my fragile sense of reality as I grieve.

And I know, I know in my bones, that this sense of family will take root in Grayson and his sisters and will, as trite as it sounds, nurture the soil of their being. And this is the legacy which my grandparents offer, far greater than mutual funds or property. An inheritance of shelter, and safety and home.


Anonymous said...

Christen- I am so sorry to hear about your grandfather's death. It's never easy to lose a grandparent. It's been 7 years since my last grandma died and I still miss her dearly. God bless you and your family today and always.


mid-life rookie said...

Prayers for you to be surrounded by those who know you by family physically or in cyberspace.