March 6, 2009

We Know Good-Bye is Not the End

"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul."
-- Horatio Spafford 1873
Today we said good-bye to my Aunt Lisa.
She died last Friday night at the restaurant where she waitressed. She went to take an order and collapsed. Nothing could be done. At 39 years old, she was just gone.
She left behind my Uncle Dylan and two little cousins Alexandra and Jessie. They were the flower girls in my wedding almost five years ago. When my aunt and uncle married some sixteen years ago, I was a flower girl in their wedding.
Today was bittersweet as my family (all my dad's side) gathered together for the funeral. Aunts and Uncles and cousins. My grandparents. Some family I haven't seen since my wedding. Some, even longer than that. Reuniting with them, even under the circumstances, was sweet and precious to me. I miss my extended family. I've never been very close to any of them (save my grandparents), but I've always wished that was different.
Maybe that's because I'm an only child. Just a thought.
Today was also the first time most of my dad's family had seen my mom since their divorce six years ago. She drove out to the funeral with me while Jay stayed home with Caleb. Even though my mom's not technically part of "the family" anymore, she was still a part of it for many many years. And she knew my Aunt Lisa.
Everyone was very kind and polite; in six years, the Lord has done a lot of healing. Even so, I could tell my mom felt a bit . . . odd. Out of place. I couldn't blame her.
We all sang together during the service. We cried together as my Uncle Paul eloquently and brokenly shared his memories of "Auntie Dee-Dah." We milled around the church afterwards, catching up with each other. I met up with two of my cousins and met their significant others. I found out my Uncle Dan may be working for the FBI in the near future. I advised him to buy a "Get Fuzzy" comic book, since he loves cats so much.
A tiny part of me wished my parents were still together. A much bigger part of me wished that, even when my parents had been married, that they would have made more of an effort to connect with and be close to my Aunts and Uncles and cousins. I don't know most of them well, beyond the familiar faces, voices, jokes, and age-old stories. And yet I love them all dearly.
But what totally blessed me today was seeing my Grandpa (Dad's stepdad) and my Mom laughing together again. The two of them have always been good friends. They both share the same off-beat sense of humor. At family gatherings, they could often be found joking and giggling together at some random thing nobody else understood.
Oh how it blessed my heart to see them laughing and joking again today! Some things never change and some things never should.
One day I'll write a blog post dedicated entirely to my grandpa. He is truly one of my heroes and the picture of quiet selflessness. To him, my mom is still my mom. Not his son's Ex.
Anyway, if you could keep my family in your prayers over the next few days, I'd mightily appreciate it. Some of them are saved (my Aunt Lisa was, praise the Lord!), but most of them are not. And my Uncle Dylan must now raise two daughters on his own. Yes, prayers are needed.
But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!
It is well, with my soul
It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


LeAnna said...

I'm sad to read this, Nicole! Oh, the things we do not understand...and the death of one so young is one of those things. I am so glad she knew Christ.

I also find it amazing how your Dad's parents still embrace your Mom, that would bless my heart, too!

We'll be praying for your family. Speaking of that, how is your DH's job hunt going?

Mishel said...

I am so sorry to hear about your Aunt much your family has had to endure these past weeks.

This post was very good to read though, in regard to your mom and the relationship with your dad's family. I will one day find myself in that place, and can only pray I will handle it with the same grace as your mom.

Hugs and love to you...