I was not with her on this day. I was in Massachusetts at the memorial service for my mother-in-law who died a few weeks ago. Right before her own birthday. And so, when I started writing about my puppy, and acknowledged that I was not with her for her birthday, my writing quickly became a reflection of this weekend. That is the beauty of this writing that I do. So often it becomes the thing that it is supposed to be, not necessarily the thing that I thought it was when I sit down to write each week.
This writing today, inspired by my dog, is about my heart.
My heart was very opened on this day, January 20, 2018. Funerals do this. We come to them opened up to welcome in the connections we all have with each other through the connection we all have with this person that is with us in spirit in the most literal way.
My dearest friends were there. Friends that my husband and I spent so many, as in almost every, weekend with for many years. They were here to mark this day with us. To sit in this connection. They filled my heart.
And my sister came. With my brother-in-law and niece and nephew. Taking the drive down to the South Shore to be with us in this moment celebration and mourning, of remembering and letting go.
And I had my children there. God, I love being with my children. My son and daughter-in-law (I just realized only recently that daughter-in-law means daughter by law, as in by marriage, that the words mean exactly what they represent. I love this). And my daughters by blood who flew across the country with us on a too long flight but thank goodness the hotel let us into our rooms early so we could sleep for a few hours before the memorial began.
And the room was filled with family - brothers-in-law (that phrase again) and a sister-in-law and niece from that side, too. And family cousins who we only get to see at funerals where we mark the moment saying how much we love to see each other even though we only get to see each other at funerals.
And caretakers. The many that were in her life and helped her son and her most trusted friend fill her many years with joy and love and and health even as her mind drifted away.
I spoke at this memorial service. I read this piece that I wrote a few weeks ago. And was surprised when I first walked up to speak, and then again while my words were shared, that my eyes held tears and my throat was full not just with these words.
I was sad this weekend. As I write this today, I am no longer surprised that I was. But in that moment it was unexpected. This happened before. My feelings these feelings and being surprised. It was right before we moved to California, back in August four years ago. We went down to Hingham, to my brother-in-law's home to see my mother-in-law. And when it was time to go, I remember leaning in to hug her good-bye. And my eyes held tears and my throat was full.
I did not think that I held this emotion for her by this point. Just as I did not think I held it still when I spoke two days ago in her honor.
And this not knowing that I would feel this way, I am holding on to this. I have marked it as a remembering that needs to be kept in the light. This knowing that I felt a connection that I thought I had already reached closure on, this is an important lesson.
It is not wrong that I thought my relationship with Mardi was complete. Because for a time it was. And then, in these last moments of reflection and connection, it wasn't again. For just a time, I know.
We think we can wrap things up. Work through our feelings and put it all neatly together in a way that allows us to move on or move forward. But then something new happens and we often will realize that those feelings are not gone, but merely at rest for a bit, waiting for the time when we are ready to walk through them again.