Photo credit: http://www.enchantinglyelegant.com
Days like yesterday remind me just what a roller coaster life can be.
We have all heard it before…all about life’s highs and lows, ups and downs, ebbs and flows. We have all experienced it in different capacities.
Yesterday that roller coaster ride just seemed a bit more apparent to me. Even the anticipation of the day was a roller coaster this week. Part of me was excited and looking forward to yesterday and the other part was sad for it to come. My great aunt Norma had passed away and yesterday was the day we gathered together as family and friends to remember her, mourn her, celebrate her and grieve her.
My day started with my youngest son crying from his bedroom down the hall. I jumped out of bed and went to see what was wrong. He was fine, just the dramatics of a threenager’s world when he wants to get up and nobody else is awake. We headed downstairs, I turned on some cartoons for him and then headed back upstairs to shower and get ready for the day.
I had a coffee date scheduled with a friend that inspires me, ignites my passion and motivation, challenges me to grow and be better all while still finding a way to feed my ego a bit. She is a keeper folks! I always look forward to our time together and yesterday was no different. I got there and ordered my coffee and we sat and started to chat. Soon, I realized that our chat was taking a different turn than our previous ones. She challenged me more than she had before and at first, I will admit, my heart began to hurt. I felt unsure and uncomfortable and I grew quiet. See, I am one that needs to process things and I had many things to process as we spoke. One of the things I love most about this friend is that she is open and honest and that is something that I greatly respect and admire. She was honest with me yesterday, even if some of it was hard for her to say or hard for me to hear. We had a great conversation, but that was cut short as I needed to head over to my great aunt’s funeral. So just in that time I felt the high of the anticipation of our coffee date, the high when I arrived and had coffee and great company, the low of the discomfort and fear from our conversation and the low of the anticipation of heading to my great aunt’s funeral. Roller coaster.
I arrived at the funeral and walked in with my brother who arrived at the same time. We entered the mortuary and the hugs and hellos with family members ensued. It was so good to see them as we don’t get to see each other often enough, yet it was not pleasant seeing them under these circumstances (highs and lows). The service began and we listened as the pastor spoke of Norma. Then my uncle got up to speak and that is when the tears began to well up in my eyes. After my uncle, my dad went up to speak. The tears then flowed freely. I was already grieving the loss of aunt Norma as she was a “rare bird” and a beautiful soul, but seeing my family hurt made it even more difficult and caused my heart that much more pain. I listened as several family members spoke about Norma and how she loved to eat her Jimmy Dean sausage sandwiches for breakfast and she highly enjoyed a daily highball. I learned that she loved to garden, loved her flowers and that she had a great love for animals. While others were looking to spot the first robins of the spring, she was looking for the wrens…she didn’t follow the crowd and was her own no-nonsense loving individual spirit. I want to be like her when I grow up. The service ended with laughs mixed with the tears and we made our way to the cemetery where Norma would join her husband Paul after all these years.
After the funeral some family decided to meet up at a nearby casino and have a drink to toast Norma (and Paul and Grandma and Grandpa and Suzie…and all we have lost within our family). I joined them and we stood together and shared more stories and toasted our loved ones. I think we were there an hour before we even played any of the machines…lol! I played a few slot machines, didn’t win and then headed out to continue on with the next thing on my schedule for the day. I greatly value that time I was able to spend with my family and honor Norma the way that felt right for us. It was a high moment on the roller coaster ride of the day.
I then headed out to switch cars so I could pick up the kiddos. As I did that, I jumped on a conference call with my friend that I had coffee with earlier in the day and a mutual friend of ours. I think I only spoke a total of maybe 20 words through the entire conversation, but I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and listened and processed intently. It is so wonderful to have people in your life that you consider not only friends, but also can help be a sounding board and give you insight and feedback on different aspects of your life. The more I listened, the more my wheels began to turn in my mind and the more excited I became. Our call ended, I picked up the boys from school and then headed over to my mother-in-law’s to pick up the younger two munchkins.
Our oldest and youngest ended up spending the night with my mother-in-law and we picked up my son’s friend for a sleepover, so we traded two of ours for another one…lol! My night was rounded off by watching the kids play and have fun and then watching the new show Fuller House on Netflix with my husband and daughter. Glad to end the day on a high point…but what a roller coaster of a day. As exhausted as I was at the end of the day, I am glad that I just threw my hands up and enjoyed the ride instead of screaming at every bump and descent.
Remember that life will take us up and down and all around. Throw up your hands and enjoy the ride!