I don’t really know why I am writing this part of my 10 days. I don’t really know who its for or why I am sharing it. But here goes.
I got to the airport Friday morning to make my pilgrimage to my family home in Wisconsin. I was going Home. Sometimes you go Home just to go Home. Sometimes you go Home for times of great joy. And sometimes you go Home for times of sadness. It’s Home. And because Home is Life it has all of those things in it.
I hadn’t been sleeping well. That’s the first thing that deserts me when I have stuff going on. My sense of sadness and dread had been building all week.
But when I got to the airport, well, a strange thing happened. That all went away. I realized somewhere deep in my heart that what I was doing was Right. It was absolutely what I needed to do. It’s hard to express but it was just Right. That’s the word, but it doesn’t seam complete enough. Kind of like talking about Flow. The word is just a word it doesn’t express the totality.
The flight was uneventful, I met up with my parents at the airport (they also flew in Friday) and we headed Home.
I stay at my Grandma’s house when I visit. It’s the center of Home for me. When I saw Grandma I gave her a big slow hug. I ate a quick dinner and I was off to see my uncle.
I had talked with his daughters, my cousins, on Wednesday and they warned me. I was pleasantly surprised at how good he looked given everything that was going on. Wednesday it turns out had been a bad day. Friday was a good day. We had a great visit. When I was about to leave, my cousins came over (partially to say hi to me and partially to see their dad). I spent another hour or so with all of them. It was a really really nice visit.
Saturday, I fell into what was a normal (well as normal as it could be) rhythm for when I am Home. I got pp early and went over to the farm to see family and visit while they worked. Then I had breakfast with my cousins. It was more serious. We could talk more openly since we were not around my uncle. It was a time to get some facts. More, it was a time to connect and take care of each other. I don’t have sisters. These two cousins are the closest I have to that and we spent the time Being with each other.
I went running later that morning. Grabbed my headphones, put on Creed and hit some pavement. It ended up being the best run I have had this fall. 40 minutes and a fast pace.
Then I went back to see my uncle. I told him I wanted to get out with him if he was up to it. So we jumped in his truck and drove around looking at the farm. We talked about silos and cows. He showed me some of the new property that my farming uncles had purchased. We were alone and I was planning on talking with him more deeply but didn’t. Riding around like this and talking crops and cows is what we normally do. I was selfish. I wanted That. I didn’t want to spoil That by admitting anything was wrong. I don’t think he did either and so in that sense it wasn’t selfish. It was unspoken. I left my uncle so that he could nap before church.
I decided to go to church with my family. Long ago I “left” the church (recovering Catholic 😉 ) because of philosophical differences that I didn’t see how I could rectify. But I still love that church. Its small and beautiful. Regardless of my differences with “the church” this church is part of Home. And it too has been the scene of great joy and great sadness. I wanted to see it. A lot of my extended family was there and it was nice to see them and talk with them even if just for a couple of minutes.
Sunday it was time to go back to Michigan. The 1pm flight meant that I had to leave at about 9:30.
I went over to say good bye to my uncle at 8:30. I am not going to say much about that fair well, its private. My uncle has a new wife who I don’t know exceptionally well. But she is awesome. After we chit chatted for a while she looked at us and excused herself to go “clean the bedroom”. I said the things that needed to be said. It was one of the hardest and most painful things I have ever chosen to do on purposes. 10 hours in Leadville had nothing on this. I never said good bye. My last words were “I love you” as I left the house. In a weird twist of fate/timing Coreen text’d me as I was walking out the door. “I love you and I wish I was there with you.” (Thank You C.)
My cousin was taking me to the airport. I knew I had about 30 minutes to go back to Grandma’s before she came. I resolved to hold it together in front of Grandma (she’s 90 and anything I can do to keep positive around her I will do). When my cousin came Grandma got an extra long and firm hug.
The door had barely closed behind me when I looked at my cousin. “I am going to be pathetic here for about 10 minutes.” She nodded. We got into her car and drove away. We cried together for just about 10 minutes.
I text’d my cousin when I got back to Michigan to tell her thanks for the ride and to let her know how important that ride was to me. She replied that she knew and it was important for her too. For me it was a balm that I needed to put on me to get through being in public to go home. The best word here is raw. I was raw and I didn’t want to be in public. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or see anyone. I wanted to be alone. But I had enough salve on me that I didn’t snap or go to pieces when the nice, happy, totally, oblivious people at the airport would say “How are you doing today?” With big customer oriented smiles on their faces. The closest I came to loosing it was replying to the TSA guy who asked me how I was doing, that it “was complicated”. He looked at me smiled just a little smile and said “My brother always tells me not to ask that unless I want to here someones shit.” (WTF is it with people looking at my face and Seeing? Engineers don’t have feelings. We have calculators and duct tape.)
I made it back to Michigan.
When I got the news about my uncle a couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend. It went something like this:
“I realize how stupid I have been in my life. How often have I told people or thought that they are Lucky because they got to say good bye? I don’t feel Lucky.”
“No, you are not Lucky.”
I don’t know how to describe what I am. Lucky is absolutely the wrong word. It’s a complex feeling. Fortunate may be the closest thing I can come to it and even that is wrong. It sounds like it was something good. What is happening has nothing good about it. I went out to visit and be with my uncle. I went to say the things that needed to be said. And even right now I cannot say even that I am ‘glad’ that I did that. Maybe that will come in time. I did it because it was Right.
Picture of the Day