Nursing homes, hospitals, funerals and memorials, declining health, recovery, inevitable death, fear of the unknown, fear of death, sadness, grief, reconciliation, savor the moments, overwhelming contradictory feelings, and simple joys — these are my summer activities.
This is a time of daily struggle for family and friends. We’re aging. Our parents are dying. Our spouses are dying. Church members are dying.
A phone call tells of an adoptive second cousin’s mother’s death. Reading her death notice tells me of that cousin’s wife’s passing. I did not know. A family gathering after the memorial reveals memories and smiles of cousins not seen in decades. New wonders present themselves. Life’s continuity unfolds.
A phone call from a friend tells of her mother’s hospitalization and dying. The bits of summer sunshine fade as familiar faces dim. Grasping for memories of good times past, we cling to the moments of the present and grapple with the process of death and the aftermath. Still, we plan for the upcoming birthday party of her twin toddler grandchildren.
An email from an adoptive cousin lifts with happiness as he tells of his joys of soon to be married in midlife.
At a church gathering, a mother tells of her son coming home from Afghanistan. We mothers tear up with joy that the one’s son will never see combat again. He returns to his wife and infant son.
My son visits a museum where he sees a new exhibit of a distant blood cousin’s fame as a scientist immortalized. Wonders of adoption reunion pop up unexpectedly. My son calls me excitedly. Coincidentally, that cousin calls out of the blue. His message greets me as I return from a memorial service. I wait till my mood lifts before calling him back.
My daughter and I share daily stresses and concerns.
The occasional gathering of friends for a bit of live music and smiles are small moments of happiness. A walk along the river for a breath of fresh air serves as respite comfort.
Political adoption issues are not on my mind.
~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.