17 March 2013

"For Every Light I See, There Is a Person, a Family, or Someone Like Me, Enduring Something"

Last night my husband and I watched The Descendants. This movie is so simple and straightforward that the underlying message it is trying to convey and the ambitiousness of it could very easily be missed. This movie is a family drama that tugs at your heart strings, one that focuses on the bond between family and on the obligations we have, or don't have, to those who have lived before. This movie confronts the painful subject of loss by showing a husband who is left to care for his two daughters after his wife is in a boating accident. While the storyline of this particular film does not mirror my life, the premise of it resonated deep within my core. 

I never dealt well with any kind of loss. I certainly didn't open my arms to it and never once accepted any part of it. I had always fought against the process and while being too focused on 'hanging on,' I missed the opportunities for growth that were presented to me. It was just four months ago when my family and I were informed of the fact that my grandfathers life would end within the two months following. With almost complete definiteness, this information was handed to us to do with it what we chose. After learning this, most of my family started saying their peace at every available opportunity. I on the other hand, could not bring myself to even think about starting to say goodbye. 

The last conversation I had with my grandfather was one week before he passed away. We were sitting at the kitchen table and while eating a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I listened to him talk about the pride he felt for his life and his family, the joy he had in his heart for his wife, children, and grandchildren and of the love he possessed for all of us. He continued on about this for a little while and then, with complete acceptance, he told me he was ready. I asked him what he was ready for and he said, "I'm ready to go home." With nothing but pure love behind his words, he admitted his final request. As I gazed into his beautiful blue, but tired eyes, I acknowledged his desire but all I could say was that I loved him and I didn't want him to go. 

From an earlier post, you know how this story ends but along with that ending there was a very precious new beginning. As I was grieving the loss of my grandfather and feeling such intense sadness and emptiness, one day something changed. Along with the grief, I found myself thanking my grandfather. I thanked him for not only being in this life but also for showing me such love through loss. That surprised me. How could I have had feelings of gratitude during a time when I felt as though my heart was broken in to a million pieces? Being able to thank him and to understand his passing and the void he left was possible because of the love I had for him. It was recently that I understood the joy in this journey....acceptance. Just as in The Descendants, the acceptance came with the love, the same love that, at first, wanted nothing more than to hold on.

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