August 2008 ARCHIVE
In the Summer of 2008…

What happened is this. A beloved member of the family departed this world; my grandson accepted a position with Apple Computer in Cupertino, California; I had back surgery; and my daughter, Jodi, brought my grand-dogs home to roost. These events were all “Rites of Passage.”
My family stepped through new portals this summer. It was a time of change and it was all a part of life and living. Life, like nature, is lived in seasons. But, often, we are distracted and we fail to notice.
These were all pivotal events that will become a marker for a new phase in our family’s life journey. It was also a time I paused to notice how sweet life is and how softly time slips away. I spent the summer counting blessings and looking back on other times. Remarkably, I noticed that often what I thought were times of tragedy and chaos were, in reality, times when miracles were unfolding.

As I looked backwards, I noticed how times were as marked in the history of families as happening either when someone died; another moved; graduated, married, and so on. Aunt Nancy always marked time by these events, especially deaths.

Also, this summer I was acutely aware that I have become a “senior citizen.” I am not fond of the term, “senior citizen.” It sounds like I have a disease or smell bad. Still, I use it when it means I get discounts. I prefer to think of these years as the time when we become esteemed “elders.” The term, “elder’ sounds like we have reached the age of reason and wisdom whether or not we actually have.

Family hierarchies change? Time passes, we move through life’s journey stepping, turning, and shifting: taking on roles and leaving parts behind us. Like Aunt Nancy, I began to notice the changing seasons and to mark important events in the many journeys of my family members, universal events that occur in all families. Each life inside each family is, in the words of Joseph Campbell, “A Hero’s Journey,” that includes challenges, love, joy, and loss. Look to the times of your family and the friends you hold dear. You will see the reflections of your life.

In July, we lost Vince Kerrigan, a family elder. With his passing, my grandchildren lost a dear grandfather, my son lost a mentor, my daughter-in-law lost her father, we lost a friend, and, most importantly, Ruby lost her husband of fifty years. The summer of 2008 was a time when we all turned to each other for comfort. It was a time when the family knitted together and became a little stronger.

As we attended Vince’s funeral, my grandson, Christopher, was driving across America. A grandfather left this world and a grandson’s new life was beginning. How normal. How wonderful. How sad. It happens everyday.

During the funeral I was aware that I was to have back surgery in a few days and my daughter had come home to take care of me. As I have already mentioned, she brought my grand-dogs home to roost.

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