Thursday, August 24, 2006

Grief and healing

In the past I've told you stories of Vicky and Sallie and how we will live in infamy in family legend. This past weekend Vicky and Sallie had a reunion of former glories.

Vicky and I have kept in touch over the years not as close as our childhood but knowing that each other was there but seldom being in the same place at the same time. We both married men that took us away from the life we knew in the Missouri Hills.

This past week sadness struck again with the death of Vicky's brother. I get a call from another of my cousins telling me of this. I call my Jimbo at work telling him of the loss. His first words to me were "you want to go home for the funeral don't you?" Of course I say 'yes' and he tells me to get the details and call him back. This was Tuesday of last week. Jim took the rest of the week off work and we drove down starting early on Wednesday morning and arriving just as the wake was ending but family were still gathered in the parking lot. Vicky was standing with her back to us as we pulled into the parking lot, talking to her 3 older sisters. I walk up behind her touch her on the shoulder. The tears and the hugs begin. The people that run the mortuary unlock the doors again so we can visit Gene one more time, not for long but enough. We go back out to our family and Vicky insists that Jim and I come home with them after the funeral the next day.

The funeral the next day progressed as funerals do of a beloved family member and friend. I saw friends and family I hadn't seen since before Nate and I were married many many, years ago. We all gathered at the church after the ceremony at the cemetery, talked and cried. Convinced Gene's wife to come up and spend some time with me and get away for a while.

Then Vicky and I had Jim and Ron ride together and she and I rode together to their place so far back in the hills even Hawkeye (of last of the Mohawks fame) would be hard pressed to find his way out again. Vicky actually doesn't live on the farm anymore but has people taking care of the fields and animals and she and Ron live in Alabama on their farm there so Ron can be close to his children. But when they come home for a visit there is always a place for them to stay.

After all the tears and emotion of the day we are tired and go to bed early. But the next morning we get up early and make a big country breakfast for the guys then leave them to their own devices and drive for several miles to get Vicky's baby sister and shop flea markets and vegetable stands. When we get back home the guys had made their own shopping expedition for fishing gear. (there are huge ponds on the farm stocked with fish and my Jimbo is a sportsman liking both hunting and fishing) Vicky's niece Jackie and her husband Sean are the caretakers of the farm. So when Vicky, Diana (the baby sister), and I return the guys are on a boat in one of the ponds fishing and the 4 of us girls go to the kitchen and cook. We make a monster traditional country dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, fried corn, and squash with a cheese cake for dessert. After clean up we all go out and sit on the front porch and talk reminiscing, they guys give it up about midnight and go to bed. We girls don't even start to yawn until about 2:30 AM. Jim and I had planned to leave to come back home Saturday morning, but apparently the fishing was so good Ron convinced Jim to stay another day for fishing, which really didn't hurt my feelings a bit. Saturday was another repeat of Friday only other relatives came to visit and eat. So we were able to obtain a lot of healing with our few days together. This being the first time Vicky and I had been able to really visit since I left home in 1969. ((((HUGS)))) S