It's been a quiet week here at the ranch. My grandfather suffered what appear to be dual brain aneurysms last Friday, and this week has been plowing through the long, drawn-out aftermath of that.
I will spare you the heartbreaking details.
I've been making the six-hour round trip drive the past few days and spending time with him and with family that I don't see nearly enough.
So many things stand out to me as important from these past few days.
Watching my grandmother, and the care she takes of him. Such exquisite tenderness. It's breathtaking. It's what nearly 65 years of marriage looks like. Like devotion. Like love.
Hearing the stories. The ones that shape our thoughts. The fragments of life that we use like bricks to build our monuments. The fragile threads that hold our hearts together. I was looking around the room, at each person there. Each individual, and thinking of all the stories that make up our individual lives. And wondering a little which ones people will tell of me, in hushed, smiling tones, standing in hallways.
The unthinking sacrifices of family. The way everyone has been looking for ways to care; for whatever small office they might perform; for any possible place that might need filling. We are blessed to be surrounded by such generosity of spirit.
And, too, the laborious work of death. It is never a pleasant thing to think on, or ... battle through, but it is as big a reality as our living. The way the body clings to life, when everything has narrowed to the pinpoint focus of the growing immensity of the task of drawing breath. Thinking, of it all - of the weight of years, the accumulation of days and moments and words and thoughts that make up a life. Golden appreciation for all the times I was able to share any small part of that with him.
The funeral will be sometime next week. And now is the time for arrangements and the signing of papers and the adjusting of the world to the absence of a remarkable man.
So I spent some time today with the girls, sitting in the park. Watching Annika do wheelies on her tricycle. Pushing Naomi in the swing. Soaking my worn-down self in sunshine and the marvel of the blue sky.
Hold your loved ones close today. Breathe in, and remember the way the world feels with them in it. Take pictures. Make memories. Tell stories. Make your lives rich with the lives of the ones you love.
Love and Gratitude,