Getting the gloom and doom out of the way in the last post, I have to say I also experienced “sprinkles of grace” on this trip to Florida. Any moment when I smiled, laughed, or felt joy was like a refreshing rain after a summer of forest fires and unbearable heat in Alaska.
And I’m sure my mom would’ve wanted it that way. She hated funerals and cemeteries. She didn’t want people mourning her and moping around. She even hated flowers because they remind her of funerals.
I am here to let you know that it’s ok to feel joy in the middle of grief. It doesn’t make the grief any less valid or real. And I readily embraced any comfort given to me.
Comfort came in the way of hugs with family I haven’t seen in ever. My family in Canada, for example… It had been 24 years since I last saw them! We only hung out for like one night, but it was so nice to be hugged and prayed for by them.
Later on my cousin came down from New York and spent two days with us. That was fun. I had grown up living with or close to him most of my childhood, or visiting his home over the summer when we didn’t live five minutes apart.
I always love hugging and spending time with my mom’s youngest brother and his family.
Then there’s family that’s not really blood but might as well be. My mom and Yeiby had met back in 1997. We were roommates in Venezuela from 97-99, then again in Homestead FL from 2001-2004 or so. We are talking about years of meals together, doing each other’s hair, helping with homework, etc. What the Bible calls “a friend who sticks closer than a brother”. I could spend time with them any day! That felt like home to me.
My high school biology teacher came to my mom’s celebration of life (the only one of my friends who could make it!) and then connected my sister and me with a trunk full of mangoes, star fruits, avocadoes, and even a jackfruit! Which we tore up… and now that I’m back in Alaska I’m bummed cuz I want more fruit…
And as a way of saying thank you for the trunkload of fruit we came over and made Arepas for their Dungeons and Dragons group. Which was fun! Got to connect with old friends and meet new people.
Not only that, but while in Alaska my husband found the time to take the kids to Dave and Busters, because no one wants to grind without stop. So they had sprinkles of grace as well.
I actually feel worse for my cousins who had to leave Venezuela, because through this grief of their favorite aunt, they were alone. Alone in Peru, or Chile, or Argentina. I was able to connect with family and reminisce, cry, and pray. They were left to their photos and Whatsapp. There’s nothing like a hug from family during these hard times, and leaving your parents in search of a better life is a hard time enough as it is.