Note: This post was written in Blue Jay Hollow (pronounced “holler”) where many of you may remember there is no WiFi. I wrote the following thoughts early Saturday morning, but posted upon my return to life as usual.
I promptly find myself in The Hollow this weekend, unfortunately not for pleasure. One of my dear uncles unexpectedly passed away this week and we are all gathering for his funeral today; but while I realize this trip is not for fun, whenever I’m with my extended family I can’t help but enjoy the hours.
Just yesterday one of my aunts and cousins whiled away the night with talk of past events and dreams to come. We laughed at ourselves (and one another) as we recounted silly events and shared memories like the trip to San Diego where my Nannie’s snoring was so loud and so long that I finally picked up my pillow and retreated to the hotel room bathtub for the remainder of the night only to be surprised by my aunt standing in the doorway moments later with a discouraged look on her face saying, “I can’t believe you beat me to it.” Man, my grandmother snored like a sailor.
With the morning’s funeral weighing heavily on our hearts, invariably the conversation turned to my own father’s passing and how such a wonderful man was taken from this earth far too soon. Stirring up specific memories of my Dad are both sad and joyful at the same time. He passed away at age 59 when I was just 32. While I know people lose their parents at much younger ages, I felt like I was barely an adult when he was so abruptly taken from our lives.
My Dad’s death hurt. It hurt more than anything I had ever felt in my short lifetime, but out of it came so many blessings and so many lessons. I can’t possibly go into all of that here — I haven’t the room, but ask me sometime in person and I’ll gladly share. What I can say is that hopefully my personal heartbreak has prepared me to comfort my young cousin who has now lost her own father before the age of 30.
As I worked through my own pain years ago I realized that yes, I lost my dear, wonderful father at an early age, but I feel so lucky to have had such a fabulous Dad for even a short time because some (or even most) people never get to experience life with such a loving parent like mine. Granted I didn’t come up with this discovery on day one, or even week one of my Dad’s passing, but the peace of this realization did come. . . and that’s what is important.
I was definitely a “Daddy’s Girl” and I still miss him after 15 years, but when I return to The Hollow and reminiscence with family it makes all those shared memories more endearing than sad. I can truly rejoice in his life and that I got to share it, and appreciate the legacy he left in our hearts. I hope and pray that my dear sweet cousin will eventually be able to do the same.
In memory of two of the good ones:
E.C. Bailey 1944-2017
Everett Sexton, Jr. 1942-2002