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 this photo. 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.