It is an hour into Tuesday and I sit bedside with my laptop, staring out the window at a magical snowscape that has taken most of the day for the heavens to create. I have not seen snow since 1994. The forecasters says this is only phase one. Phase two comes in the morning and will continue through most of the day. No, I am not in Florida. Rosemarie and I have flown and trained to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to join our family as we mourn the death of our nephew, Frank, who suffered long and hard as he wrestled with the unrelenting cancer that has been consuming him for several years. (Scroll down a few posts and see “Waiting For When”)
It was an unfair and torturous episode that has wiped out a thirty-one year marriage and temporarily diffused the joy and happiness of the recent engagements of two daughters. Nothing about this story is good, the only saving grace being that his family has spent most of the day remembering the good times, the happy moments and the loving fathership that steered this family to where it needed to be to deal with a loss like this. It has been a performance worthy of the love this family has grown and harvested from the partnership that made it so.
The snow storm has played havoc all day and into the evening with those from out of town who were attempting to get here for the funeral. They shuffled among numerous cancelled flights, were dealt delayed departures and wound up in cities never included in their original trip itinery. Some had to abort, others will arrive late. Mother nature does not care about the goings and comings of humans, even at times like this.
So as I peer at the whiteness outside the window, childhood memories stir. They revive the thrills of sledding down an incredibly steep hill at the golf course near my home, the snowball fights with neighborhood kids, forever falling on my butt in my total ineptness at ice skating, and the pleasing feeling I got from shoveling out a parking space to surprise my father when he returned after the tedious trip home from work.
So too are other memories aroused of my growing up in a nurturing, loving atmosphere, all made possible by what my mother referred to as her “mixed marriage…the mix of one man with one woman.” It is this same kind of mix that embellished this home and the people who were raised within its walls where I now sit. Sure, there must have been moments of discontent and countless challenges to maintain harmony, but a good partnership learns how to steer through these barriers and leave behind individuals worthy and ready to take on their own families and continue the cycle. It is their legacy. It is a difficult task to achieve, and especially daunting if fate barricades the family within the hardship of an ugly disease and throws it in the face of everyone to find their own way of dealing with it. This family has met that challenge and tomorrow it will honor the husband and father who contributed body and soul to help make it so. Bravo, my dear nephew. Well done.