Still processing the wonderful, bittersweet weekend I spent with family. All but 4 of my 24 cousins made it (from all over the country) as well as all of my aunt's siblings, her parents and, of course, her children. There was a lot of love flowing along with the tears.
While I won't say everything that's wandering around my mind and heart right now, I will be honest about this: suicide leaves its own mark on grief.
I imagine her on a long hike with us: over peaks and valleys and across long stretches of desert. She found the journey difficult and debilitating but she kept persisting at it, even adding more to her load by stopping to support and carry others along the way. In the end, she grew depleted and found herself unable to go another step, unable to see or even imagine cool green meadows ahead. I'm going to go ahead and head home, she says. I'll see you all back there. And so she did.
This is too simplistic, I know. It's too pat to account for either the complexity of her experience or the range of emotions we feel--especially those felt by her now-grown children and new grandchildren, who will bear the vastness of her absence in the months and years ahead.
I do believe in mercy and, that after her long and brave daily struggle, she has found that cool green meadow.
But I'm still really sad about it.
. . .
My cousin played guitar and sang Fairest of the Seasons at the family memorial service. So moving.