It's no secret that the cycle of life is often on my mind and of course, even more so when huge life events occur. As a kid, you never really understand death and new life and weddings and funerals and what they all mean. You just go – because someone older tells you that it’s the right thing to do.Now that I’m older – each life event that I experience seems more profound than the next and they change me. My life is altered after each one whether I like it or not.
The past week has been a rollercoaster of emotions like none other. I had told you that Rambo’s Grandmother died. The drive to where she lives is 18 hours one way and Rambo made the decision to go – and Watermelon made the decision to go with him.Did you read that? 18 hours is ONE way. 36 hours total. Plus 3 days in between at the wake and funeral. With her father. Without anyone else. She was happy to go. Excited. Most of all – not scared.
I didn’t have to coerce her or tell her everything would be alright because she already feels safe with her Dad. 36 hours of just those two on the way there and back was like nothing to her. Just another day with her Dad.Some day I’ll tell her what her going on that trip meant to me. To the little girl inside of me who has never and would never go alone in a car with my own Dad for more than an hour. Even now. Nearing 40 and I don’t think I’d do it. I doubt either of us could. We wish it was as easy as packing and going but we both know it isn’t.
To say that it is monumental to me that she went with him and vice versa…well it’s impossible to put into words.Of course, they attended the wake and funeral and of course there was sadness and tears but each of the 3 nights that they stayed there, the entire family gathered at the hotel and everyone sat around the pool for hours – laughing and connecting and telling stories.
And when it was all over, everyone decided we’d plan an annual trip with everyone so that these kinds of memories would never end. That’s the definition of family if you ask me.People of every age coming together from thousands of miles away holding each other while they cry during the day and sitting side by side in a whirlpool at night laughing until they cry. Mourning the loss of the family matriarch and vowing the bonds will remain in honor of that matriarch.
A few days after Rambo and Watermelon returned from their trip, Rambo and I attended a family wedding. It’s the first time that I cried at a wedding and it wasn’t necessarily all because of the bride and groom. It was because Rambo sat on one side of me and down the pew were my mother and sister and all my Aunts and Uncles and cousins.It was because all of them were sobbing as well. Because you can’t not feel the spirit of togetherness and hope in the air on days like that. The feeling of a new beginning and nothing but pure joy in the moment of a wedding. Vows dripping with love, toasts that take longer than they should because emotions take over and laughter so loud it hurts your ears as I watch my mom dance to “Blurred Lines”.
You can’t be sad at weddings like that – when everyone comes together despite history and dislikes and petty fights – for the sake of two people in love. You cannot help but to feel honored to be a part of that.In the middle of all of this, our close friends had a baby girl as well. Another life. Right in the middle of all this death and joy. How is a heart supposed to keep up, I ask you?
You can’t go through these ceremonies and moments and not think about the cycle of life that takes a woman of 92 years from you one day and starts a new life and a new marriage the next. You also can never begin to figure it all out. I don’t think we’re supposed to…for if we could then none of it would seem so extraordinary and jaw-dropping.My mom said to me as I did her hair for the wedding this weekend, “I just can’t stop crying. I can’t figure out why. It’s just all so emotional with all my family here and stuff. I don’t know what is going on with me. The wedding hasn’t even started!”
I told her to keep crying and that it’s okay to cry whenever the hell she wants for whatever reason she wants. That anyone who isn’t feeling emotional during times of great joy like this isn’t really living or understanding how amazing daily life can be. And how precious and short it is.She seemed to take that in and simply acknowledge that yes – tears aren’t a bad thing and they don’t mean you’re weak or even sad. She needed to hear someone say that.
I saw her cry more times than I could count over the weekend and every time I thanked God for having a mom that isn’t afraid to feel that deeply…and show it now that she is older.Age indeed changes us. I see that more in my parents and in myself every single day and events like funerals and weddings just make it more obvious.
How about you? Has age profoundly changed your emotions? The way you feel at certain events? Do you notice that change? Fight it or embrace it?