life lately: peace
back from italy. commuting back and forth between chicago (office) & south bend (home), occasionally crashing at my brother’s townhouse in lincoln park (saint). a weekend to harbor springs to my grandmother’s summer home (just in time for summer to, officially, end) and then the next to nantucket for a wedding. putting finishing touches on our new apartment. buying some fish.
but the whole time, much bigger things were weighing heavily on our hearts.
last week, pat’s grandmother, who hadn’t been well for years, who wasn’t present at our wedding a year and a half ago, was read her last rites. and then we just waited. waited for the bad news. for another one of our parents to lose their parent. she passed away quietly on saturday morning. pat’s mother was there when it happened, which is comforting for us and, hopefully, was comforting for his grandmother, too.
we went for a long bike ride along the st. joseph river yesterday afternoon, watching the changing colors zoom past us. fall typically signals the start for many people. for me, it has taken shape as the season of sadness. my papa - october 2000. my gram - november 2009. my gaga - december 2004.
i wrote about it last year and when i did, it split my heart wide open. but the conclusion of that piece was the truth:
it was peace.
pat asked me saturday morning, if i thought about it. what it would be like to stare down the end of your life? i said i didn’t really know. but i hope (like everyone does) that it would be free of pain and filled with a peace which signaled readiness.
my grandmother had some visitors, family friends, the week leading up to her sudden death 3 years ago. after the funeral, they told us that something incredibly bizarre had happened that afternoon of their visit. in the middle of a normal conversation, my grandmother - who was mentally sharp and whole - said out of the blue into the air, “karl, i’ll be there soon.”
karl, my grandfather, hadn’t even been a topic of conversation that day. at that point, he had been gone 5 years.
now, i’m not catholic. i’m not even particularly religious. but for whatever reason, our ride along the river bearing his name (and my heavy heart) piqued my interest in saint joseph. when we arrived home, i read a bit about him. his memorial is march 19, the date of our wedding. and one of his many patronages?
a happy death.