A death, a birthday & a call for new beginnings

by Kristin on June 5, 2009

in Culture, ideas & paradigms

Photo by Eliazar

Monday, a torrential thunderstorm swooped into our area for about 20 minutes before exiting as suddenly as it had arrived. Jason’s softball game was canceled, even though the rain was long gone, so we picked up ice cream and beer and took it to a friends’ house. We sat on the porch and talked while the kids played. Later that night, after the kids were in bed, a good friend called to tell me that she just found out her close friend committed suicide. I tried to comfort my friend as she struggled and wondered what more she could have done.

Tuesday, I walked up the street to the school for Q’s fifth grade celebration and ceremony. I tried to get my mind around the fact that my firstborn is leaving elementary school for good, and preparing herself internally for middle school in ways I’ll only catch glimpses of. My mind naturally gravitated to the day she started kindergarten, just a few weeks after her dad moved out of the house and I embarked on single parenting a five- and three-year-old. Was it just yesterday or another lifetime ago? Later on Tuesday evening, my two girls and my stepdaughter made a big to-do for Jason’s birthday celebration, and I wondered, once again, how he found his way into our life.

Wednesday, a friend went to a funeral for a grandfather he never knew. Our friend came over that evening and tried to describe what it was like to meet aunts and uncles, cousins and even half siblings he never knew existed, even though they all knew he existed. A thousand thoughts flew into my head, about DNA and blood, family and strangers, and all that exists from day to day, whether we know about it or not.

Thursday I was moved by President Obama’s historic speech in Cairo, Egypt, calling for a “new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world. ”I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to respect one another, and to seek common ground,” Obama said. “It’s easier to start wars than to end them. It’s easier to blame others than to look inward. It’s easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is one rule that lies at the heart of every religion, that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.”

Friday, today, I got out of bed and took Maeve for a walk. I heard my neighbor practicing her flute, ate a bowl of cereal, paid some bills, and biked to my office. Later, the girls will finish up their last day of school, we will buy groceries and start getting things ready for a weekend camping trip. But really, I don’t know what today will hold, just as I had no idea what this week would hold when I got out of bed Monday morning. We don’t know what we will be told when we answer the phone, and we will be surprised by the thoughts that fly in and out of our minds, gripping our hearts, as each moment happens around us, to us.

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  • http://www.everydayflotsamandjetsam.blogspot.com Breanna

    Beautiful.

  • Trina

    Too true. Very moving, insightful delivery of what was and what is. Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift.

  • Anne

    Wow, lovely post. In April we spent one day at attending a funeral of close family friend and the next day at the hospital awaiting the arrival of my brother and his wife’s first baby. It’s amazing what change a minute / day / week can bring. I’ve really been thinking about this a lot recently – thanks for sharing your story – totally made my day today!

  • http://ashleygraceless.com Ashley

    I really enjoyed reading this post. So poignant and inspiring.

  • http://compostermom.blogspot.com Daisy

    A roller coaster of emotions, indeed. Life hands us a lot some weeks.

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com/ Kristin T.

    Breanna, thanks for not just thinking so, but saying so. :)

    Trina, “what was and what is” is a good way to put it. I’m fascinated by the way certain moments and experiences can be very unique, but they still usually echo life’s most basic themes.

    Anne, yes, a funeral and a baby’s birth create life’s most stark contrast. It has a way of putting everything in perspective, doesn’t it? Thanks for your comment—I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

    Ashley, thanks for reading and letting me know what you thought. I should play with different formats and approaches to my blog posts more often. Or maybe this “week in review” style could make a regular appearance.

    Daisy, yes, life does hand us a lot some weeks. And we wonder why we’re so exhausted—emotionally as well as physically!

  • http://www.ihatemymessageboard.com Tracy

    What a beautiful post. I loved reading a slice of your life. More, please!

  • http://adventuresofham.blogspot.com Hamish

    It’s nice to be reminded that it isn’t always the events that matter (although they are significant in their own way), but the thoughts that accompany them. It is how these daily and weekly ‘happenings’ effect us, our lives, and how they make us think, both within and without ourselves.

    Your perspective is a lovely reminder of the need to maintain perspective. Thank you!

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com/ Kristin T.

    Tracy, thanks! I might do this “five days, five paragraphs” routine again. I just hope I don’t have many weeks that are quite so packed with emotional stories to tell!

    Hamish, yes, you’re right. The thoughts that accompany the events, even the little day-to-day happenings, are what matter in the end. That’s one of the things I love so much about writing and blogging—it requires me to be more conscious of those thoughts, and gives me a reason to gather them up, articulate them, and weave them together.

  • Sarah Louise

    beautiful. and I love the structure. somehow this reminds me of my aunt’s funeral, where my 2nd cousin left to sit in the car to breast-feed my third cousin.

    Thank you for writing something that not only touched me, but touched a memory inside me. I think the best blog writing does that. At least for me. We love telling stories, don’t we?

    xo and cupcakes,

    SL