Marigolds and Memories

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.

About TT&NB

Wife, Mother, grant writer, professional do-gooder and friend
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17 Responses to Marigolds and Memories

  1. so sad.we have to appreciate every day.

  2. Jan says:

    That was beautiful. Are you planning a trip to the cemetery? Let me know….

  3. zoe says:

    so lovely. Sorry about the loss.

  4. “I do not find comfort in claiming that a divine plan would want, require even, this child to grow up without her father.”. This is exactly where
    I run into trouble with many religions. I think you summed it up in such a gentle way…much better than I have ever been able to.

    • TT&NB says:

      Thank you. I left the catholic church due to homophobia, then left Christianity because of purgatory. I had a very late miscarriage (21 weeks) and the thought of her being in purgatory because I didn’t get a priest into our room broke my soul permanently from that train of religious thought. Finding a faith community that allowed me to see our multiple miscarriages, especially the late term one, as simply a shitty situation, not a divine plan, released me from the obligation of finding meaning in our tragedy. It was essential for our healing.

  5. mistyslaws says:

    Poignant and sad. And I love the openness and acceptance of other cultures and traditions that your religion displays. That is rare to see in religions. And I think it is so important.

    • TT&NB says:

      When my husband and I started researching religions with churches near our home we were blown away by the Unitarian Universalist faith. Dave is a Jewish/Catholic man turned atheist, I am a former catholic turned traditional universalist, and both of our religious histories, current views and beliefs are celebrated there.

  6. Robbie says:

    One of my friends became a widow last year and it’s heartbreaking to think about here baby’s future…one where she will only know her dad through pictures and stories.

  7. kp Attman says:

    The suffering and loss that surrounds us is certainly overwhelming, and it’s comforting to know that our creator is aware of them all, and will help us. Thanks for sharing!

  8. TriGirl says:

    Oh man. It’s hard to not feel guilty about what I have when there’s so much loss.

    • TT&NB says:

      I tend to get angry at the universe when things go poorly for us, shaking my fist in the air and claiming we have already lived through enough sadness. Then something like this happens, and I realize that our life, no matter how hard fought to get here, is still vulnerable to tragedy simply by our being humans.

  9. So beautiful and sad. We always observe Dia de los Muertos at our house

    • TT&NB says:

      This is our first year doing so with the kids, as this is the first year they have ever experienced the death of a loved one. The beauty and power of Dia de los Muertos has transformed the way we grieve in amazing ways.

  10. I love this. There is no sense in trying to extract meaning in something so heartbreaking, in my opinion. Unitarian Universalists have something to teach other religions…

  11. RageMichelle says:

    THis is a lovely post…very moving.

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