Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sometimes you're the yin and sometimes you're the yang

Have you had one of those phases where you're not sure what triggered it or if it was even something specific, but you find yourself in a funk and the climb back out is so intimidating that after a while, you just turn on robot mode and muddle through for a while? 



Well, I have. And even though I'm back up here on dry land, it always feels like if I took a single step backward, I'd fall right back into the abyss. 

Frankly, there are plenty of abyss-worthy things that have happened this year. Chief among them is the loss of Kurt's amazing grandma, Nancy, in August. I'm still in that part where I can't really even think about her without crying big, hot tears. Because she was amazing, you guys. I can't explain how fortunate I feel to have wound up being able to count myself as one of her grandchildren-by-proxy (although any time she introduced me she just called me her granddaughter). She was in her 80s, but it was still unexpected and sudden. We miss her so very, very much. The kids talk about her almost every day. She's given them so many little things from the house she lived in with Kurt's grandpa most of her life. I see her in every single room of my house.

I could go on for so long about Nancy. But I'll keep it short. Think of the kindest person you can think of, and then add a big dash of clever wit and a boatload of patience. She was quick to smile and quicker to hug. She was really proud of her Swedish heritage, and over the moon when we named Anderson after her maiden name. Every Christmas Eve, she would serve a big Swedish meal with potato sausage, carrot pudding and limpa bread and her extended family would gather around and complain in that teasing, loving way that really great families often do. It was absolutely expected, though. It's not Christmas without that meal. I'd been planning to introduce this tradition to our Cincinnati family this year, before she died, and I think we'll still try, though it will be difficult. 

So, my heart has been bruised for a while. And now one of my uncles has died, just this past weekend. He'd dealt with a lifetime of Big Issues and walked a very, very difficult path. I hadn't see him in years, and usually I haven't even been aware of where he was (or if he was). He was a big-hearted, gentle soul, at any rate, and my heart hurts for him, my grandma and his remaining siblings. It's a really difficult thing. We'll go to the funeral on Friday and I'm sure it will be tough.

On the flip side, though, I also became an aunt in August! In fact, we were on the way to Michigan to attend Nancy's funeral when my niece was born. And she is quite the antidote to all this heartache. She is such a sweet baby, and we are lucky enough to get to help take care of her during the week. She brightens our days so much. I don't know if it's full circle, or the yin and the yang or just... you know, life. But it's good. I'm so excited that my kids have a cousin, and it's so funny to call my husband an uncle. And my brother is a really good dad! And his wife is a fantastic mom! It's all kind of surreal, but in a really, really good way.

And a million other things. Loss and love and trucking along, as we do. Some moments cast a long shadow, but where there is shadow, there must also be light. That almost sounds Biblical. Did I steal that from the Bible? That seems especially in bad taste.

I have no clever or hilarious anecdotes to fill up the page here. I just wanted to throw out a "I'm still here" message. Because I am. And so are you, and aren't we so lucky?