Life sucks and then you die

Above is a true quote at a leadership meeting this week.  One I have used on my kids as they grew up on occasion.  But you know, there’s some truth to it……life has sucky seasons to be sure, but there is a lot of beauty along the way, too!

Did you hear that great thunk of dust falling from the blogosphere?  I’m back.  Not sure how long for………………….but today and tomorrow for sure 🙂

Here I sit on a Sunday afternoon with a completely empty house and for the second time in 2 days I am experiencing a bizarre and unusual quiet, the kind you spend just aimlessly walking around because you aren’t sure what exactly to do.  Although there’s lots I “need” to do, it is often glorious just to sit in the quiet.

be still.

In this crazy life we all live, that is not only a challenge but actually a breath of fresh life if you can manage to force yourself to do it.

The last 6 weeks have been insanely intense and emotional for our family culminating with the happy milestone of a high school graduation.  So the quiet?  It is welcome and also has a way of ripping off the bandaid of stuffed emotions and allowing cathartic tears to soothe the soul.

In April we mourned the unexpected loss of my dear, step-father, Benny after a brief illness.  After completing chemo and radiation therapy for metastatic squamous cell cancer and beginning to get strength and energy back it was a sucker-punch to the gut to lose him so suddenly and our family is still processing and grieving his loss–and in a house of 6, no two grieve the same.

In the meantime, life goes on, right?  We manage Benny’s affairs, plan his celebration of life later this summer, work our day jobs, take end of course exams, replace dying refrigerators, plan summer vacations and prepare for college.  Life doesn’t stop and that is both a blessing and a curse.

Last week we mourned again, this time for my father-in-law, Ike, who also fought an eerily similar cancer battle as  Benny but where Benny’s cancer complications caught us off guard we have been counting the months since Ike’s terminal diagnosis 7 months ago.  Though expected and freely discussed with and without him, I can tell you that the end was no easier than the sudden passing of Benny.  Different but not easier.

On Friday we had a funeral Mass for Ike in the church we married in almost 24 years ago.  While they have undergone some renovations over the years, as we processed down the aisle to our row, my mind played a weird game of flipping to my wedding procession and the current funeral procession.  One walk was a joyous occasion vowing to love in all circumstances and promising to raise our children in the Catholic church–the other walk was melancholy and played like mental slide show of “throwbacks” and present day.  From a shiny happy young couple to a family of 6 filling an entire pew, praying, taking the Eucharist and saying goodbye.

Death does weird shit to your mind.

On Saturday we celebrated our youngest son’s high school graduation.  This senior year has been a blur of busy, a blur of decisions, a blur of the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood.  We hosted an open house breakfast prior to graduation, noshed on some breakfast deliciousness, snapped some photos, grabbed some hugs and then worked our way to the civic center.  In what is the biggest surprise to all, mama bear shed zero tears.  We listened, clapped and celebrated and somewhere in the “T’s” realized that if we left right then— we could beat the traffic home and you know what?  We did it.  And I give zero cares about judging, because we already took the pictures!!  If you saw the traffic yesterday due to 4 graduations back-to-back and the annual “Big Truck weekend” combined with the first sunny Saturday in (what felt like) 10 years, you would recognize the fact that we did a public service by cutting out early, therby reducing the traffic gridlock on beachside.  Anywho……this also allowed me precious time alone at home with my new grad (who lucked out after graduation and scored a quick exit and record time getting home) as my entire family went their separate ways and he had time to decompress before heading to his friend’s party.  And you know sometimes, when the dust settles and the adrenaline subsides–THEN the tears come: sad, happy, relief, uncertainty, remembering our loved ones and looking to the future and it is a blessing.

Saturday evening I spent celebrating Mother’s Day and May birthdays with my mom and sister and we laughed and cried and reminisced and ate and drank and shopped and it was a gift.  A beautiful end to a bittersweet weekend.

This life has turned out nothing like I expected in my 24 year old imagination as I walked down that aisle and I am so grateful for that.



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