Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Learning to disengage, & grief.

Yesterday was quite a day. First, after finding out that my youngest daughter's travel plans were about to be decimated by United's unfriendly skies being too full for standby, she and her hubby and i spent several hours refiguring plans and looking up flights to buy online. By last night they had things pretty much rearranged. But the thing i practiced during this time was The Art of Disengagement.

As i was driving back home i realized, AHAH. What she and her father have in common, and i have in total opposite, is the way they deal with bumps in the road. i tend to be a "oh, we'll figure it out somehow" while secretly hoping i'm not lying. She and her father start with total annihilation: "The sky is falling! Everything is ruined!" and move toward "we'll figure it out somehow." The trick for me, anxiety-wise, is to realize we both actually want the same thing, we just take different roads to get there.

Regarding grief, that was the sad part of the day. A long time acquaintance just lost her husband suddenly, and the memorial was yesterday. It was a beautiful memorial, with all of their children and children-in-law and grandchildren sharing memories of his love and humor. But at the end of the service, as the wife was walking out on the arm of her son, i wondered, Can grief shrink a person? i mean, she has never been a big person in stature, but she has walked big. She is a very grounded and assured person, and has affected many people with her love of God, sharing hope and comfort, and being a person to walk alongside others in their hard times.

i remember a time back in college when i was thin enough to wear flowered pants without looking like a sofa, and being told by a much taller guy (i'm only 5 foot 4) that i "walked tall for a short girl." i guess that's what i'm thinking of, this woman has always walked tall. But when i saw her coming up the aisle of the chapel, headed to the next phase of saying goodbye to her husband of many years, she looked tiny and frail, and not a bit like the woman i ran into at the grocery store a few weeks ago. So her face haunted me all night when i'd close my eyes trying to sleep. And i'm really tired today.

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