She is a widow, now, with a two-month-old baby and a lifetime left to live. I keep going to their fundraising page and assessing by the hour what she can cross off her list. Good, now her baby can get new clothes this year. Alright, she probably can take a week off work, unpaid, and be OK. Refresh, refresh, refresh.
Trying to climb out of my head yesterday entailed making Halloween cookies (who doesn’t love sugar cookies in spooky shapes covered with candy eyeballs and bones) and decorating our house. Twinkle was delighted when she found a Marigold still blooming in our garden, as that flower is used in Dia de los Muertos celebrations to beacon our loved ones to return. Yet another reason to love being an Unitarian Universalist – accepting, celebrating and joining in the celebrations of other cultures is a valued part of our faith community. Death is never happiness, but in the celebrations of life, in the beckoning of our loved ones to return to us, we are reminded that the wholeness of their life is greater than the sadness of their passing.
Twinkle asked if we could go out and decorate our Uncle Pete’s grave in the ways she saw during our Dia de los Muertos slide show at church. Of course – let us honor his 97 years on earth with wreath s of flowers and a picnic of his favorite foods enjoyed on his grave. Let us connect the ending and preparation for rebirth fall represents with the souls of those we love. Let us celebrate his long life and allow my tears for the 30-year-old widow whose husband was taken far too soon to be masked by the tears of joy on a long life well lived.
When I think about that 63 day old baby who will learn of her father from photos and testimony, not through tickle fights and tent building, I am grateful that as an Unitarian Universalist I am not called to make sense out of this tragedy. I do not find comfort in claiming that a divine plan would want, require even, this child to grow up without her father.
Tonight we will decorate our pumpkins with the kids, using Mr. Potato Head parts to preserve the pumpkin for later baking. We will choose plastic flowers, weaving them together to make a blanket of color for Uncle Pete’s grave. We will transition naturally into discussions of Halloween costumes, trick or treating and the sounds and smells of fall. When I fall into bed tonight, enveloped with love so thick it chokes out my potential for sadness, I will send prayers of thanksgiving into the Universe for giving me the opportunity to spend one more day with this amazing family that I adore.