I will probably have tears that run straight from my eyes, all the way down my face and then eventually all over my neck after I finish writing this. Sunday February 20, 2011- my great Uncle Marty moved on from this world. He had a stroke, much like the one my grandfather suffered from in 2008. Unfortunately... he didn't make it and it was his time to go. Even as I write those words, I can't help but not get it. Death, that is. I just don't. My prayer is that he is now on the golden shores, face to face with God. My mind can only make so much of it before it completely shuts down and I only see cartoon characters in place of what I was thinking about.
I was reading Cold Tangerines last night before bed, the author Shauna Niequist said this about death, " We can't stand in the way of death, but when it comes, we can stand in its face together, and celebrate life and celebrate family and celebrate having loved fiercely and expressively." Gosh, what a powerful statement. Death sends me into orbit, I mean it just does. I find myself getting overly anxious and almost sick at the though of someone close to me dying. I ask Josh all the time what I will do if he ever dies and I like have kids or something, like oh my goodness, I think I would just shatter to pieces. I think about my parents, they are still so young to me, but someday they too will have to go, and that though shuts me down to the ground. There is no need to even go any further with those thoughts because it just does bad things to my heart. I love though, the idea that death is a time to celebrate life and family. I wasn't able to make it home this week for Uncle Marts funeral. He wasn't my real uncle. He was my family though. I grew up with him, he was like a grandpa to me. My house was about a mile away from the farm that he and Nancy raised their family at, and their grandchildren. Lee is Marty's grandson. We are exactly 17 days apart and he's my brother, we grew up together, took baby baths together, held hands on our way to the first day of kinder garden, we were each others escorts to the Sophomore Sweetheart dance, and we've always been there for each other. It was hard for me not to be there to support my dear friend, and say goodbye to sweet Uncle Mart, but that's life I guess. What warms my heart though, is the report that the funeral home was overwhelmed with people. My mom said, " Emily, I think the whole town of Birch Run was there." Yes, Birch Run is a small town, but when Lee told me people were lined up out the door in a foot of snow and 30 degree weather to pay their respects to this man, I got a tear in my eye. That is really celebrating life, and celebrating relationships and family. Saying goodbye is never easy, but it is easier when people you love are surrounding you and saying good bye with you.
My family is all together right now, all at my sisters house. It kind of feels like something is stabbing me in the heart to know that Josh and I aren't there laughing with them and playing with braylon. I'm not sure why I didn't get to be there, God knew though that I couldn't go. I had a lot of peace once I finally made the decision not to make the trip for 24 hours. For the first time in a long time I knew I made the right decision and although it was really hard, and I really wanted to be there to say goodbye, it felt good to make a decision.
I've been reading a lot. Never enough, but a lot none the less. Almost everything I've been reading is on "hard times," "getting through the darkness," and "suffering." It's hard for me to see life in any other way at this point, just through the eyes of suffering and being completely out of control of anything. Wrong? Yeah... I think it probably is, but I without a doubt just think that is where God has me at- a very humble place of complete surrender. I can feel the hope though, deep down inside, the excitement is bubbling up and for the most part I'm very happy. I still though- am still- being taught what it means to suffer, and be humble and trust God. In an email I sent Josh tonight, I told him how important my family was to me. DUH. I also told him that I think for so long I've found comfort, security and validation in my family, my identity would lay completely in my family. Moving to Austin, starting my own life here and continuing in an amazing relationship here has opened my eyes to the fact that my identity and my comfort should lie in none other that the one who hears my prayers and calms my anxious heart. I wanted to be there this week, with my family, celebrating life and family and loving fiercely and expressively. God had other plans though, and trusting Him in that decision was kind of cool...
I'd give almost anything to go back to the days when I could hop on the four-wheeler with my brother and sister, have the dogs running with us and just head over to Uncle Marty's pond. He'd always be there, always with a smile and always happy to see you. Don't get me wrong, he was grumpy from time to time, but there wasn't a person who didn't love uncle mart. He helped create so many great memories in my child hood. I love you Uncle Marty!!! :'(