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Archive for the ‘sunset’ Category

Susan and I went to a funeral yesterday. It’s not something one looks forward to, but a sweet friend had lost her Father, and we wanted to be there to lend our support and love for our friend and her family.

Our friends father (Bill) was a very sweet man. We didn’t’ meet him until the rages of Alzheimer’s had taken over his body and his mind; and yet his sweetness shown through.

I had an inkling this funeral was going to be different when we arrived at the church and there were white chairs set up outside. They were placed on a hillside with beautiful green grass surrounded by trees and flowers with a view of the San Diego Bay that was simply breath-taking. I’d never been to an outside funeral, but after today, I can’t imagine any other way of honoring a loved one.

From those who spoke, I soon understood this was a man who was loving and was loved his entire life. His wife, his children, his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Love, love, love. He loved being outside, loved camping, loved sunsets, loved ice cream and coffee, and loved being the family “tickle monster.”

One of his daughters started to speak about his courage and how he emphasized to her the importance of being still, and it was in that moment I found my mind began to wonder.

I began to think of the death of my parents. My dad in 2010 and Mother in 2012.  I thought of the lessons they had taught me, and what it is I still miss about them.  Some days the image of them is so clear I swear they are walking right beside me. Other days, I don’t feel them at all.  It’s those moments when I am “being still” that I feel them most of all. When I have my tea in the afternoon, sitting quietly on my patio watching the birds, sitting by the San Diego Bay knowing how much my parents loved to sit in the same spot some 30 years ago.  Dad’s ashes are scattered in this Bay so that every US Navy ship that goes in and out of San Diego has to pass over him.

The thing is, I never understood my parents – ever. I thought of this today as Bill’s children and grandchildren were speaking of him so lovingly.  I never understood some of my parent’s decisions, their beliefs, their grudges, their never wanting to talk of anything.  So many things were left unsaid, unsettled, unknown. I love them, I just wish…

I left this funeral with the understanding that life is most certainly meant to be lived. It’s meant to be shared with those who love you unconditionally. You’re meant to be still, to be tickled. You’re meant to watch the sunset, and eat ice cream and drink coffee. You’re meant to laugh and love and share your thoughts and dreams and desires .You’re meant to make memories that will carry on long after you’ve gone. This is what your life is supposed to be.

We walked away from the service on that beautiful hill to the Reception Hall where an ice cream social in honor of Bill awaited us.  Ice Cream, every topping you could think of, whipped cream, cherries, nuts, cookies and coffee. For the first time ever, I left a funeral feeling upbeat and hopeful.

As a side note – the pastor who spoke at the funeral had a voice that simply drew me in. She was kind and compassionate, and spoke in a way that wasn’t condescending or judgmental.  As the pastor was speaking, I leaned over to Susan and said: “If anyone could get me back to church, I think it might be her,”  And it’s been many years since I’ve spent any amount of time in a church.

Bill must have been smiling knowing that I had been still and was listening.

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Grudge:

Noun: A persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury

Verb: Be resentfully unwilling to give, grant, or allow (something).

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Why do we hold grudges?  Seriously, I’m asking why.

I come from the land of holding grudges – I think they put something in our town water supply when I was growing up and grudges just breed for generations and generations. You know what I’m talking about – Your Mother tells you not to talk to certain people – to not walk down a certain street – to not even think about dating the Catholic boy – to not ask why there are no people of color living inside the town limits – to not upset a certain Uncle – to just be quiet – to not ask questions – to just do as I’m told.

Is it easier to hold a grudge than to face the truth? Is it easier to just continue to blame than to look in a mirror and think maybe – just maybe – the person you see staring back at you might also be to blame?

I know people who are still upset and resentful about something that happened over 30 years ago – I can’t remember what I did an hour ago and yet these people cling to this grudge like it was the Holy Grail. This grudge defines them – it’s in their soul – it’s been a part of every decision they have made for over 30 years.  I find that amazing. They have wasted over 30 years being angry and hateful over a perceived snub or a word that was taken wrong or an alleged action.

I will admit I did what my mother told me to do because – well – that’s what one did in the 1950’s and 60’s. At least that’s what I did because I’ll be honest – I was just a little afraid of my mother, and I wanted her to be proud of me – so I did as I was told. To my credit – I did ask why – a lot.

Now that I’m 60 – I’ll admit that I do not understand the whole grudge thing. If there is someone you don’t want in your life because it’s not a healthy relationship – walk away. Don’t harbor any ill-will – just walk away and let it go. If you hold on to the feelings of anger and resentment – you’ve gained nothing by not having that person in your life. The point of not having that person in your life is to have your life more peaceful and fulfilling – you can’t have that if you get rid of the person but hold on to the feelings.  Let it go – let them go.

Life is hard enough as it is without the extra burden of remembering to keep a grudge alive. If you’re carrying a grudge, try to find a way to resolve it – for you. From experience – I can tell you that it’s wasted time and wasted emotions. I held a grudge against someone for almost 13 years, and I was the only one suffering. The other person simply went on with their life and didn’t waste a moment thinking about me. I, on the other hand, spent years being angry and playing the poor, poor pitiful me card. Was I hurt and betrayed? Yes, I most certainly was, however I should have simply spoke my peace and walked away. Instead, I spoke my peace and then spent 13 years being angry and trying to make her pay. Well, let me just say – you can’t make someone pay when they simply don’t care.

We all travel the same roads, but everyone’s journey is different. If you put two people on a bench to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean and then asked them what they just saw – you would most likely hear two entirely different accounts of the sunset they just watched. One might say – the sun went down over the ocean, and the other may say the sun looked like a big orange ball as it slowly disappeared over the contour of the earth. Same experience, two different levels of involvement.

As much as you can – try and be on good terms with everyone. Don’t carry around your families grudges for they don’t belong to you, they belong to those who have passed – let the grudge pass with them.  Mostly – be on good terms with who you are, with your journey, with your passion for what is right and just and decent and honorable. Walk away when you must and love with your whole heart when you can.

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♥  There are no words.  ♥




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