Sunday, April 30, 2006

I've found it hard all weekend to have conversations with anyone who doesn't know exactly what is going on in our lives.

Friday night, I dropped Gabe off at my sister's house, and ran, unexpectedly, into my cousin O~, who was in for a surprise visit from New York City, where he is a lighting and sound guy for various tv shows (I think this called a "gaffer"), and also a documentary film maker. I am very fond of O~, but, I haven't talked to him in months, so, when he met me with a big hug and a "Hey! I hear somebody's expecting a surprise package from Vietnam!" ~ I just didn't know how to respond. I had failed to call my sister and tell her that we had turned down Tung's referral. So, then I had to explain the whole thing - to my sister S~, to my brother J~, and and to O~, all of whom were sitting in my sister's living room. I felt pretty exhausted by the conversation. (I appreciate that my family is, generally speaking, as excited about this whole process as they generally are about any "new arrivals." I really do love that about my family.)

Anyway, I left my sister's house, and met my husband and some friends for dinner. Thank goodness my husband had filled them in on the events of the day, and we only talked about it once or twice.

Saturday morning, my sister was having one of those "premier jewelry" parties - like a tupperware party but for jewelry - and I hid in a corner leaning against my mother's shoulder and flipping through the catalogue. I just had no patience for the endlessly upbeat, overly genki sales person. I bought a necklace I didn't really want and drank way to much coffee.

My mother was supposed to be officiating yesterday afternoon, at one of the oddest funerals I think this town will ever see. By way of explaination, last year, some construction crews accidently unearthed 42 unmarked graves by the river. Well, the forty-two sets of bones have been sitting in the coroner's office since they were dug up (I think they were trying to determine the age of the bones, what era they came from. I'm not sure if they came up with any answers.) Anyway, the historical society asked clergy members to come and bless the "reinterment" of the bones at Riverside Cemetary. Only my mother, representing the United Methodists, a pastor from a non-denominational evangelical church, and a Native American medicine man volunteered. (My mother personally felt, that, all things considered, she was glad the medicine man was there. She was uncomfortable about disturbing the souls of the long dead, who she is pretty sure were native people.)

Anyway, the reinterment was happening at the same cemetary where my grandfather is buried, so, after the super-happy-jewelry party, I drove my mom to the cemetary and sat for a while on the carved stone bench that is my grandfather's grave marker.

My grandfather died in November of 2001, but, they told us he was lost to us on September 11, 2001. While we were all in shock and grieving from the horror of the morning, that afternoon brought a telephone call from a doctor with the news that "nothing else could be done expect to make him comfortable." He was not ready to go and we were not ready to say goodbye.

I sat on my grandfather's bench and traced the words engraved there with my finger over and over ("to the land where joy will never end, I'll fly away"), and I told him, all about C~H~Dung and Tung and the sorrow in my heart, and I cried for while - for my grandfather, for C~H~Dung, the child I wanted and couldn't have, and for Tung, the child I couldn't say yes to. And I cried a few tears for others who are lost to us, for the baby of one friend, for the husband of another.

Across the cemetary I heard the rich sound of my mother's voice singing Amazing Grace. I listened to her sing the last note. Her voice was strong and sure yesterday morning, not like the last time I heard her try to sing in that cemetary, when she tried to sing "We Shall Gather at the River" with her four sisters, as we buried the man whose bench I was sitting on. That morning, all their lovely voices cracked, broken in grief. Yesterday morning, singing for 42 long dead strangers, her voice was perfect.

I felt strangely peaceful. I wiped my face - I didn't want my mother to come back and see me crying on her father's grave. (Though she, of all people, would have understood. She's likely sat in this spot and cried herself.)

Anyway, I felt better, not great, but, better.

Hopeful, I guess, that the right child is still working their way into my arms.

LM

5 Comments:

Blogger Christina said...

It seems poetic in some way, that you were in the perfect spot for grieving yesterday, when you had some real grieving of your own to do. I love that you have a bench to go to at your grandfather's grave - what a lovely idea. And the words on the bench are beautiful too. Did you know Jars of Clay recently re-made that old hymn? Very beautiful.

Sunday, April 30, 2006 3:13:00 PM  
Blogger LawMommy said...

I didn't know that Jars of Clay remade that. It was my grandfather's favorite, and he sang it all it the time. He played the banjo or the twelve-stringed guitar while he sang it. I will have to find the Jars of Clay version.

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