Three weeks ago, I wrote about adaptability and declared that on a scale from 1 -10, I am a nine. Ha! How ridiculous our words can be in retrospect. (And embarrassing if you’re foolish enough to put it in writing.) Two weeks ago, I wrote about letting things go, both physical and emotional, and for the last week I’ve been trying for all I’m worth to let go of the emotional anxiety I’ve been feeling about the state of our world. Some days I’m more successful than others.
And then early Thursday morning, my father-in-law passed away.
At his request he will be cremated, and no services will be held at this time. No gathering of friends and family to laugh and cry and reminisce. No arranged time to say goodbye. But today, as we gather in a social distancing kind of way to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday, I’m sure there will be laughing and I’m sure there will be tears for their shared 58 years of life together.
I imagine there will be stories from his sons about scouting events, little league games and family vacations full of memories of camping and motor-biking with friends.
I will make sure we retell the story of when my in-laws took my son and his cousin on their first camping trip. It turned out to be particularly rainy travel day, and although the folks were excited to be taking these four year old cousins on an adventure, there was some anxiety as they traveled through a strong spring storm. My mother in law sang songs with the boys as my father-in- law drove his fifth wheel rig down a sandy road that was rapidly eroding. They were both more than relieved to get to their destination and get everyone safely into the camper for the night. Yet when two little boys convinced their grandpa that they couldn’t sleep without a nightlight, out he went into the weather, to hook up to the electrical box, painfully aware of the standing water around him, the camper and the electrical box.
We have many years of family memories spending Thanksgiving Friday, Saturday and Sunday together. Traveling into the city to see Christmas lights, playing games, and watching Disney movies. It was a special, yet unremarkable, time of simply being together.
Today we will celebrate a life well lived and completed. And we will celebrate another life that continues on. And no matter if we are ones or tens or anywhere in between on the scale of adaptability, we will adapt. All of us. And we will keep on, keeping on.