I worried Tuesday night. I worried the next day. I worried all week. But I set worry aside to bury my cousin yesterday.
My cousin Dolores died last month in Jacksonville, Florida. It was an agonizing death. Her kidneys and liver gave out. She was in and out of comas. Still, she faced death valiantly. She was a devout Christian and a devout Republican.
She voted for the president.
We hadn’t seen each other for years. And then out of the blue I heard the news.
I missed most of her life. I wish I had known her better. We would have disagreed on much, but we would have gotten along. We’re family.
Yesterday we interred her ashes at the Sylvan Heights Cemetery in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, next to her father, my uncle Joe, and her two brothers, my cousins David and Donny. Her father and my father were brothers.
I have ten cousins on my father’s side. As children we frolicked together every summer. The days were long. And then long gone. We grew apart. Distant.
Now only five of us remain. We’ve grown old. Saturday we stood together under the shadow of death.
We don’t choose our family. Families are given. We might not like each other or see eye to eye, but we find a way to get along—somehow, if not easily.
We don’t choose our fellow citizens either. Compatriots come with the territory. We might not like each other, but we must get along.
The funeral ended.
And then THE NEWS broke!
We now have a chance to come together. I could worry that we won’t.
But, alas, worrying gets us nowhere.
by Mary Oliver
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
See Paula’s “Barn in the Fog” photograph on the home page.
Your reference to frolicking with your cousins when you were children and then growing distant struck a chord of memory as I had the same experience. Love Mary Oliver at all times.
In what is left of my family, I have one cousin who believes the way I do politically. She fights the good fight in the heart of the red state where we were born. She is much tougher than I will ever be. We celebrated together via text messages yesterday.
My remaining family and I love one another dearly, so we choose to remember our beloved parents and grandparents and the fun we had as kids. The stories we share remind us how loved we were as children, the food our grandma made for us, the scrapes and bruises that were kissed away, and all the other things that made us who we are today.
Blessings to your cousin, Randy. Hope you and she shared good times long ago.
It’s a Glorious New Day! Rejoice and Be Glad In It!
Death does not care if you are a Democrat or a Republican. We are all vulnerable and, whether we are aware or not, we are all one human family. Your blog is poignant and appropriate in this post-election period.
Such a good poem — it speaks to everyone amid the births, marriages, deaths, pandemic, election.
A wise person said, ‘don’t tell me worry doesn’t help, most of the things I worry about, don’t happen.’
Beautiful blog, heartfelt responses. On this new day, may the “Here, Now!” of Life and the Oneness of Family light and motivate our way forward, and may we not wait a moment longer to sing!
And then the news came!
No more trying to fool us into believing madness.
“And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”
Worrin’ never stopped anything from happin’
and never helped it once it did.–Ben Franklin
Thank you for remembering the beauty of each morning…its twilight song of the birds outside my window and its promise with the rising sun.