Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Can I?

There are a host of rules on blog etiquette. I don't read them much, because every time I do, I find out I've stuck my foot in my mouth again and done something wrong. Jesus distilled His rules down to two basic ones that cover all the rest: Love God, love your neighbor. Blog rules are not so simple. And I am afraid I am about to break another one today.

Can I just pour out my heart? Because I am pretty sad right now. That's the way it is, and it isn't a different way.

I called my parents on Sunday. I do that fairly often. Call on Sunday, I mean. Usually I just talk to my dad. My mom isn't much for talking on the phone anymore, but this past Sunday she got on the phone. She had a list of questions she wanted to ask me, because we are flying to Minnesota for Christmas this year. So she got on the phone and said, "Let me just find my list... oh where did it go?" Finally she found it. She paused and said, "Oh Ruthie, I need to tell you that at 6 a.m. this morning my dear, sweet wonderful sister Loie died."

And I sucked in my breath and I just couldn't believe it. I know that Loie has not been well at all. I knew that she was living in a hospital bed in the livingroom of her daughter Molly's house, with daily hospice care. But this is my Aunt Loie, who lived on the farm and made custard pies. Loie who sewed a little blue outfit with a bonnet that both Shannon and Laura wore as babies. Loie who sent us two handmade plaid teddy bears. Loie whom I always thought of when we used to call Laura "Baby Lo-lo", because Loie sometimes went by Lo for short, too. Loie who loved her four children and ten grandchildren and growing number of great grandchildren so much, but still had time to remember her niece in New York once in awhile.

Last summer I visited my parents while Shawn had a business trip in Minneapolis. I brought a bunch of old pictures home with me from my mom and dad's. Later, stricken with guilt, I scanned them all and made copies and put them into scrapbooks for my brother and my sister... I just mailed them off last week.

While making the scrapbooks, I remember looking at a picture of my mom with her four sisters, the five of them, and thinking about how I missed my Aunt Ruth's funeral last year (2007) in November. Last Christmas my cousin Rachel wrote to me and told me what a blessing it was to see relatives she hadn't seen in years at Aunt Ruth's funeral, that she was sorry I hadn't been able to be there. I looked at my aunts, in their younger years, and I thought, "The next time there is a funeral, I want to be able to be there." Maybe that is a morbid thought, but that's what I thought. I want to be a part of the family. I want to be there.

Who knew the way things would turn out? Well, God did, certainly.

Aunt Loie died on December 14, and her funeral is scheduled for December 23. Ironically, our plane tickets are for December 23. We are leaving at 4:17 p.m. (supposedly), and arriving in Minneapolis at 9:50 p.m., or something like that. Late. After the day is over.

Instead of being there to share this time with my family and grieve together and remember together and encourage and comfort each other, I will just be putting everyone out at the end of a long day.

The tickets are from one of those cheap discounters, the type of ticket that cannot be transferred or changed in any way. There is less that we can do than if we hadn't had any plans to begin with.

And even if we did throw my ticket away and just buy me a different one, leaving the previous day (it is not feasible to do that for the whole family), I don't think I have it in me to change plans, have everything ready for everyone a day early, and then travel by myself on my birthday.

My family doesn't care that I won't be there. They don't expect it. Nobody is putting any pressure on me. They would probably think it odd if I went to great lengths to get there.

But I care. I am very, very sad. I guess it boils down to selfishness. Nobody needs me, but I feel like I need them.

This is my mom and my aunts. Aunt Ruth is sitting on the sofa. Aunt Teda (Priscilla) is on the arm of the sofa. Aunt Loie (Lois) is behind Teda, and my mom is standing next to Loie. Aunt Nunie (Eunice) is in front on the right. Only Nunie, Teda and Bonnie are left, and Teda has a very bad case of Alzheimer's.


Hope T. said...

I am so sorry about your aunt's death and the sorrow you are experiencing right now. I don't think you are breaking any rules by writing about your sadness but I guess I am not aware of that piece of blog etiquette. I will pray for you and your family to have peace at this vey trying time.

AmyC said...

Your blog is for you to do with as you please, so pour out your heart if you want to. I'm sorry for your loss and that you will miss the funeral. But your family will all still be there and the grieving and sharing doesn't necessarily end when the funeral meals is cleaned up. You will still be there for the remembering. And you'll be so glad you were home for both the holidays and your family's goodbye to your aunt.

ruth said...

Well, Amy, I will still get to see my parents and my brother and my sister and their families, but the extended family really won't be there to be seen if I miss the funeral. I never see them. My mom gets too overwhelmed to host a get-together when we come--our family alone is enough to completely throw her for a loop. And the other relatives just don't seem to have get-togethers that we are invited to when we visit. I'm not sure why that is... something about being the youngest child of a youngest child. Used to be, when I was a wee lass, when the cousins came from afar, we all dropped everything and did stuff with them, but that has never happened for us when we go to visit. I used to get my feelings hurt, but now I just recognize that it is what it is, and I try not to take it personally. But that is why it hurts so much to miss the funeral--it would be an opportunity to see everybody, and I haven't had that opportunity, except the one time when I got to go back for my Grandma Rainbow's funeral in 1996 and see all the family (and that was the other side...).

I missed my Grandma Herbold's funeral, and my Grandpa Rainbow's funeral, and my Aunt Ruth's funeral, and now I will miss Aunt Loie's, too.

My family isn't very sentimental about these things, and heading the pack of non-sentimentality is my mother. But I am a little more tender in my heart. They think I'm strange for it.

Hope--thank you for your prayers.

Ruth MacC said...

Ah Ruth, I am sorry. It's not true when you say...
Nobody needs me, but I feel like I need them.

They need you too.

The photo is beautiful...

It can be a hard time, Christmas.

Ruth MacC said...

Ok. I have just read your reply to Amy C and I can see how you feel that your family don't need you.

I don''t know what to say. I am praying for you now.

Sit-N-Chat said...

I was clicking through blogs and read some here. My parents' siblings have been passing on these last couple of years. I am blessed to still have my parents though I wish I could say there were better. I have been thinking about this land we live in, with pain and regrets. But we look forward to eternity where Jesus has wiped away our tears. I bet when we all get there, we'll know we met on this blog!

I will call on God for you.