Today, in fact this entire week, has been filled with sad images on television.
Here in Detroit it’s been a week of celebrating the life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, who died two weeks ago. There’s been days of public viewing, with lines of people stretching for blocks, all waiting in heat indexes over 100 degrees to pay their respect. Her funeral is tomorrow. Local news stations seem to broadcast little else.
And Senator John McCain died last Saturday and the national news has been filed with his story, work and funeral arrangements. I watched his Arizona funeral today. One of the television pundits commented, as we watched the family file in, that she couldn’t imagine how his seven children were feeling at the loss of their father.
I silently noted that she must not have lost a parent yet. Because if she had she’d know how easy it is to imagine how they feel.
“You didn’t have your dad as long as you’d like, but you got everything you need from him.”*
Watching them during the service, and especially as they followed the casket back out after I was right back at my mother’s funeral, and at my dad’s a few months later.
I know the feeling of standing, knees weak, at the pulpit and staring out over a standing-room-only crowd wondering if I could get the words out. I remember how it felt to smile after, shaking hands, accepting hugs, while all the time feeling totally numb.
“This I promise you – you know you’re going to make it when one day you see an image of your dad and a smile touches your lips before a tear fills your eye.”*
I know the feeling of disbelief. I know that it feels like you’re walking through mud, how the days each last an eternity, yet fly by too quickly. How that final goodbye shreds your insides.
And then this afternoon, on a highway out in New Mexico, a semi truck had a tire malfunction and crossed the median, striking a Greyhound bus head on. There are multiple deaths. Even more injuries. Families are even now receiving that phone call.
The cycle of loss never ends.
Today I seem to be enveloped in grief. Old grief for my family, new grief at recent national losses. Stabbing grief at the knowledge that more families are, tonight, beginning their own personal trek through darkness.
But I know what Joe Biden knows. That tomorrow will be a new day and the sun will shine again. And those of us that feel the pain this deeply are the lucky ones. Because we knew true love.
And true love never dies.
*Quotes above are paraphrased from Vice President Biden’s eulogy for John McCain today. They touched something inside of me, because he was exactly right.
August 30, 2018 at 9:30 pm
Their is that mixture, isn’t there? The loss, the grief, the gratitude for good memories of loving and being loved. I think what I find the most heartbreaking, the most significant, is that although I did not agree with all of what John McCain believed, I feel as though we have lost one of the very few people with real integrity in our government.
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August 30, 2018 at 9:46 pm
Somebody said something similar on TV today…that he was feeling sad because it felt like the Senator was the last of the civil government leaders, that that was a lost generation now.
August 30, 2018 at 10:34 pm
Yes, so true, grief gets all mixed up together. I’ve noticed that in my life too. When I start crying about one thing, it carries over and then my heart is aching for other reasons, and it becomes one huge snowball rolling down hill, and not stopping….
August 31, 2018 at 6:40 pm
Yes it does work like that….it all builds up into one big pile of sadness. I hope your puppy is making you smile. I’m sure he’s trying!
August 31, 2018 at 3:17 am
Sure nice to have you explain it so well, Dawn. I’ve been feeling that too the past couple of weeks. Just too much loss, and some of it so sudden. And yet the loss comes from having wonderful connections. It’s a mixed bag that’s for sure. Bless you.
August 31, 2018 at 6:42 pm
Thank you. It’s good to have such a wide base of support out there when things feel sad.
August 31, 2018 at 8:43 am
Joe Biden’s words of encouragement to the family were spot on.
August 31, 2018 at 6:46 pm
They sure were. I’ve seen him comfort other people over the years. He’s very empathetic.
August 31, 2018 at 11:40 am
Hi Dawn, your writing touches me all the time and i think you said my feelings perfectly for me about the loss of parents. thank you dear friend.
August 31, 2018 at 6:48 pm
Hi Bess, so good to hear from you! How are you doing? I was thinking about you a couple weeks ago and wondered how you were.
September 1, 2018 at 8:32 pm
i read your blog regularly and always enjoy hearing about your life and travels and the sharing of your beautiful photos. i have been very busy this summer and not been doing much camping because of the thick smokey skies. it finally cleared up this week so we are going out camping to Central Oregon on the 13th. it will be nice because the summer tourists will be gone and the campgrounds will be quiet. we have made it over to the Coast a couple of times in the early summer. my garden is great this year because of all the heat. i will be 69 this week and it is a number that is kind of humbling. i still feel like a 20 year-old in my mind and my body reminds me that i am not! please know that i think of you often and wish you well always! Bess
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September 1, 2018 at 10:42 am
Ahhh, now I see why you may be feeling sad, Dawn. It’s been a hard week for many. Hugs…
September 11, 2018 at 7:18 pm
Beautiful words. Thank you!