Life is a funny thing.
While I’m mourning the loss of my grandmother, another friend is celebrating the news of a new baby. Yet another friend is worrying over her husband, who is undergoing surgery to repair a deviated septum. And yet another friend is excited by the prospect of a brand new book club.
A baby is conceived. A grandmother is lost. And the world continues to turn.
What struck me most about yesterday’s events was the sense of finality and sadness interspersed with laughter, joke-telling, and merriment over our impromptu family reunion.
In keeping with our usual traditions, there may have been some fart jokes. There were embarrassing stories retold about cousins. Smack talk about our favorite sports teams. We all took delight in the newest, youngest generation.
There was a lot of hugging. Tears were shed, memories shared. Quiet moments of contemplation, hand squeezing, looks of understanding passed between family members. Someone talked about Nanny’s cheddar biscuits. Another remembered her laugh.
Even as we left the grave site, we gathered for family pictures-commemorating the first time all the cousins and grand kids and aunts and uncles had been together in one place in several years. (And because Nanny would have wanted us to.)
Smiles, silly faces, and bunny ears ensued. (Which Nanny would have loved–except for the bunny ears. She was never fond of the bunny ears.)
As goodbyes were said and cars began to drive away, I looked over my shoulder toward the grave site. The world seemed to stop for a minute, and all went quiet around me.
There, surrounded by oceans of flowers, with the sounds of laughter in the air, were my Nanny and Paw, finally side by side after 10 long years.
For the first time since Sunday, I took a deep breath, wiped away one last tear, and felt peace. Peace with her death, peace with his. And peace knowing they are together again.
At that moment, a shriek of laughter caught my attention. I looked around to see my 24-year-old brother being chased toward the cars by a laughing 8-year-old cousin. Everyone around them laughing, watching with anticipation to see if he would be tackled, then tickled.
And in that moment I felt my grandparents smile down on us. Because when it comes right down to it, I know they would’ve been laughing right alongside, telling the best stories, remembering events no one else would’ve thought of, sharing hugs and kisses and laughs right along with us.
Today I wait patiently to hear status updates on our friend’s husband, who is having surgery. I share the joyous news of another friend’s growing family. I send emails filled with book lists to another friend. And I think of my grandmother, and how she would have laughed at little Sammy chasing Adam through the parking lot.
And life goes on.