“planes, trains and automobiles”…

This is real life, and it’s really messy, and it really hurts, and sometimes you want to jump aboard a rocket and sling shot yourself to Mars and hang out there for a bit.

Maybe existing on a whole other planet for a while would stop the neurons from misfiring in your head, and a different gravitational pull would anchor your existence in a new and better way?

A few weeks ago one of the most excellent of men passed away from this earth, this planet.  Somehow this earth feels duller than it did before.  He was married to his wife for 65 years, and these two did life together so incredibly well.

To think of him without her  is unfathomable.  As we remembered him at his funeral, and his grandchildren talked about him, it was so evident that he had found true joy in his life.  That joy was first found in Jesus, and his fulfilling relationship with him, but also he valued people…relationships, his wonderful family.  He loved to travel, and explore new things, and he had a kindness, and gentle and quiet way about him, that drew others to him.  He was a giant of a man, with a humble and gracious heart, and he leaves an enormous and gaping chasm in our lives… especially his family, and those closest to him.

He built a relationship with my father when he was just a teenager, and they remained best buds for life.  When my Dad died 10 years ago this month, he spoke at his friend’s funeral.

I thought a lot about my Dad the day that we remembered Harry.  I thought about how both men really enjoyed people.  They were good friends, because they were in sync about what was important.  They discussed business issues, family and church, and they laughed…a lot.  I used to love watching them together.  Sitting in beach chairs for hours on end, the surf swirling around them, and the warm sun tanning their bodies, or in Harry’s case, burning his bald head…and would catch myself smiling when Harry would slap his leg, and and howl with laughter at something funny my Dad had said.

These two men were such examples to our families.  They were men of valor.  They esteemed their wives, and loved them fully.  We kids had such amazing role models in them.  They were both top notch Fathers, and we knew we were deeply loved by them.

They epitomized by what they did, what was real, and good.  Their actions matched what they said, and we knew we could count on them.

Father’s Day is coming up in a week or too, and thinking about our Fathers is what we do.  For those of us whose fathers are in heaven together, we long to see you… to be reunited with you.  To our Heavenly Father we say “thank you” for gracing us with wonderful Dads.  It’s because we loved them so much, that our hearts are breaking, and splitting apart.  To those fathers that are still here…my hope is that you will see in these men who have come before you, the “good ones,” and be like them. Honor  their memories and do what they taught you, if they taught you well.  Act, and be present  for your kids, love them fully, your families…nothing matters more in my opinion. These  are your life gifts.  You are favored, to have given life to your children, and they need you…Be there…it matters…a lot.

 

Even though the Erwin family is just at the beginning of this missing, it could be said, that when you bury your loved one, you also seem to bury part of yourself.

Perhaps this is unavoidable.. I guess it’s called grief.  I don’t like when people we love go away.. I don’t like it at all.

Trying to learn to live and still love in the loss is a challenging endevour.  It would seem simpler to succumb to the ache that surrounds your heart, and just close up shop.

Finding a solid place to stand when the pebbles below your feet are loose, and you feel like you are hiking the mountain in stilettos, while the thunder is rolling in around you is strange…surreal.

The mind longs for a place of calm, of relaxation.  For some, it’s the beach, the water. For others it’s in the mountains, or deserts.  There are so many places for us to explore, and find solace .  Our imagination often takes us there as we slumber, and creates a haven of sweet rest for our tired eyes.

The dreams we see can encompass our dearly departed, but in my experience thus far, not as often as I would like.

IMG_4812

Why did I post this movie title as the heading for this blog?  It was true… I did fly here from Denver, and my brother Greg did drive Mum and I in his automobile to the location of the funeral. When I decided to stay longer in Perth, I then took the train from Smiths Falls back to Toronto.  It was unavoidable that this movie would not have popped into my head.

If you have ever seen this movie, it’s a memorable one.  It is funny, crazy and there is a sadness to one of the main characters that just draws you in.

Steve Martin and John Candy are stuck together, and Steve does not care for it one bit. He is very self focused, and determined to get where he needs to be, no matter what.  He becomes completly obsessed with getting what he wants…he needs.

Steve misses what is going on in John’s life, until much later in the film.  John is a good guy through and through, and is down on his luck. He is lonely, and sad, but puts on a happy face, and puts others’ first.  He just wants to be friends…to connect…but Steve is so dense, he doesn’t see it until it’s almost too late.

Connection to friends, to family is so vital in our lives.  Whatever your family looks like, blood connected, adopted and chosen, or a myriad of other ways…this is what we crave.

We want people to do life with, to share our experiences, our successes, and hopefully people we can trust to let see our failures as well.

At a funeral often you see individuals that you have not seen in a great while.  Some…you don’t even recognize when they speak to you.  This can be disconcerting.  You hug a person that you haven’t laid eyes on in 20 years.

It was so indearing to me to have some of these friends seek me out, and then come and take time to chat more at the reception afterwards.  We caught up with each others’ lives, and it was encouraging to be together again.

Some people were apologetic for not staying connected, but it would seem that barriers fall away when someone that you love dies.  You become so aware of how fragile, and frail a life can be.  We remember what is important…each other…

Its’ a reality check for sure.

Iv’e spoken before about living in the “inbetween.”  This is the space of time left in your life, before you get to be reunited with your loved one.  Perhaps it’s a morose way to see life in seeing it as “what’s left,” but to me, it makes me see things more clearly.

I don’t  want to waste time…IMG_4793Things can, and do change in a moment, and time spent is looked on afterwards as such a precious commodity.

I had heard that Harry and Jean wanted to go together.  It’s hard to fathom why people are left behind.. it feels cruel..

There is much that we don’t have a choice in.  We do usually have the choice of who to spend our time with though.  Choosing to spend our time wisely , and without regret , and to actively be present with each individual is important.

My trip on the train was lovely.  I had not taken a train ride in a long time.. it was surprisingly relaxing.. I had forgotten that part. The clickety clack, and rhythmic back and forth sway on the locomotive rocked me to sleep..

IMG_4747It is so rewarding when your destination and plans are interrupted.  I did not always feel this way, but somehow, the lack of control, and then the reconnecting with friends from afar, and family, makes the journey so much more fulfilling than you could have imagined.  It’s unimaginable how a death can bring broken relationships back together again…. it’s as it should be….


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