I’m at my dad’s place this weekend for a family funeral.
My great-aunt, the last of seven adult siblings in my grandmother’s family left for Heaven in April. So cousins from around the country are gathering to honor our family legacy and remember, remember, remember.
It’s hit my particularly vulnerable heart (Dominic’s birthday is May 28) hard, hard, hard.
I wake up each morning in the the home where my great-grandparents, my grandparents and my mama lived. My dad still lives here. So. much. life. has transpired within these walls.
Death has been here too.
Grandpapa Cox was laid out in the living room. I remember looking down on him lying there and asking what he was doing, stiff and still in that box.
When I sat in the pew next to more than two dozen folks with whom I share DNA I thought about the hymns and prayers lifted in the little country church we’d all attended at various times. I pictured my gray-haired greatgrandmother, Mama Eva, sitting in the corner by the window-her daughters next to her. I saw my own mama’s casket centered below the pulpit, her hands holding the white rose and Dominic’s photograph.
And here we all are writing new stories while carrying chapters from the old ones with us into the future.
People say, “Let’s not wait until the next funeral to get together” but we almost always do. The most complete family photos tend to be at sad events when folks are compelled to show up and don’t dare offer feeble excuses for not coming.
We have our share of photos from the past couple days. Cousins now lined up with gray hair and laugh lines just like our parents and grandparents before us.
One thing I’ve learned from death is this: you can’t stop time no matter how badly you might wish you could.
For those of us who have experienced child loss we not only mourn what we once had and knew but what we will never have and never know. We lost a future as well as a past.
I’m thankful that most of my folks tend to live long lives and leave for Heaven at a ripe old age.
I’m so sorry that Dominic wasn’t one of them.
Today I’ll breathe and rest and digest the old memories and the new ones.
I’m thankful these good-byes aren’t final.
I’m thankful I’ll see the ones I love sooner than I might imagine.