#5TF: Saying Goodbye

Five Thought Friday Challenge:  Week 2 – July 1 – July 7, 2017

This was a very bittersweet week for me, filled with both joy and sadness. On Monday, my paternal grandmother passed away. She was 91 years old.

Granny and I were always very close, even though I long ago fell out of touch with my dad. The exact reason why we lost contact eludes me now but I’m fairly certain it had something to do with my divorce and subsequent exit from the proverbial closet. Coming out is a very hard thing to do in a Southern family. My mother’s terrible reaction made me very reluctant to tell anyone else, including my Granny and my dad. Being 2,200 miles away then, it was easy to hide the truth from them while also living my life as I wanted. It may not have been the wisest of choices at the time but it was the one I made.

Granny’s funeral provided an opportunity for me glimpse the life that my dad has lived over the past 12 years and it seems to have been a good one. He and my step-mother have been married for more than 30 years and seem to love one another as much today as the day they got married. It was nice to see other people happy.

One thing I really enjoyed this week was getting a big hug from my nephew, who I haven’t seen since he was 7 years old. His hug was genuine and sincere and showed in that brief moment that he had grown into a kind and caring (and very handsome) young man. He is a sophomore in college now (at my alma mater) and works next door to where we live. My nephew was born when my brother and his girlfriend were only 16 years old so my dad and step-mom played a huge role in raising him. One hug was all it took for me to know they all did a wonderful job.

I am grateful for all the many things my Granny taught me – from how to make a quilt to how to haggle at a yard sale. She was an amazing woman and I will always treasure the times we spent together. I am grateful for Angie being beside me at the funeral. Though Granny had not been well in almost a year, her death hit me harder than expected. Without Angie’s support (and never-ending supply of Kleenex), I don’t know what I would have done.

This week, my sister celebrated her 40th birthday. (She’s the little kid in the photo above with Granny.) I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to share her big day with her and her husband during a quiet lunch at a new Mexican restaurant in town. She also went with us to the funeral home to say goodbye to Granny. Though she drives me nuts on most days and I often cringe at her outspokenness, I am grateful she was there to carry the conversation when I couldn’t find the right things to say.

I need to let go of my habit of second guessing everyone. I have no idea what my dad would have said all those years ago if I’d talked to him about my life. I assumed he would react just as hatefully as my mom did but his reaction when I introduced him to Angie told a different story. He simply shook her hand and said, “It’s about time, isn’t it?” I still to this day second guess other people’s reactions and tend to avoid a lot of interactions based on what I think may happen. This is something I need to work on so that I’m not standing beside another casket one day wishing I’d done something different.

We made progress on our hiking goal, adding 16.4 miles to our combined total – in one day! We were off work on Monday for a long holiday weekend and had decided to hike the Bryant Grove Trail at Long Hunter State Park. It was on our unofficial “Summer Bucket List”. We completed the hike in 3 hours 21 minutes – with the last 4 miles hiked in the pouring rain. 

We also made unexpected progress in other areas of our life. Mending fences was never on our list of happiness goals but in seeing my family again, I can’t help but think that it is going to be an integral part of that process. I feel there’s a story there that I need to hear and probably more than a few happiness lessons we can learn from.

The funniest thing that happened week is best illustrated by the picture below. We had made it to the midway point of our 8-mile hike. The sky was blue. The sun was bright. Our plans were to set up our hammocks, take a swim in the lake, and have lunch before heading back down the trail. Just as we emerged from the woods, the sky quickly darkened and rain began to fall. Never one to be deterred, especially when hot and sweaty and in need of a good soak, Angie jumped in anyway – clothes and all. I followed her, just after I snapped this shot.

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3 thoughts on “#5TF: Saying Goodbye

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my maternal grandmother several years ago and it still hurts. I’m really glad that your dad seems to have had a better reaction than you thought he would and that he was welcoming to your partner.

    I’m estranged from my own dad, for good now, I expect I’ll never speak to him again, but that’s for my own peace of mind because he’s a piece of work. So I think it’s completely understandable that after the hurt caused by your mother’s reaction you seeked to protect yourself and didn’t really speak to your dad. I think we tend to see our parents as ONE unit and not realize that they might actually be quite different from one another, for better or for worse. Did he not reach out to you all these years either? People change. He might have had a bad reaction years ago but then acceptance set in… the important thing is that now you have hope for a renewed relationship with him and your stepmom. Good luck!

    I am AWED by how long you hiked in one day (my feet hurt just thinking about it!) and that you did 4 miles in the pouring rain! Way to go 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nathalie! Yes, my dad reached out a few times, sending birthday cards, etc. We talked on the phone about 2 years ago but it was just small talk. Thankfully he’s never been a bad person. My parents just had a terrible divorce and I think he needed some distance to start a new life and that small distance grew into a large gap. Angie’s is estranged from her dad for the same reasons you are. He’s not a good person so I completely understand where you are coming from.

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