I got into Virginia Beach last night. The train from NYC took about ten hours, ten easy hours. When I got the call that my Aunt Kim had passed away, I cursed and then called my cousin Savannah. Savannah is 17. Her sister Casey is 13. They lost their father, my Uncle Roger, a couple summers ago from a heart attack. Kim had cancer that slowly moved its way all over her body. She lived for the girls.
The interviews I conduct discuss grief and loss and how people manage to make it through hard times. We all experience loss - it's the guarantee of life, that we and the people around us will lose it.
I told Savannah that I loved her and that she has been given so many wonderful memories and tools to continue on in life.
Sitting here at the kitchen counter, the dogs bark whenever anyone comes to the door. The door always has a new face, a neighbor, a friend with gifts of fresh vegetables from the garden, casseroles for the fridge, and flowers, lots and lots of flowers. The conversations are about Kim's strength. She just wanted to get the girls into high school. Laughs and tears come right after each other. People talk about their own encounters with loss, a husband, a mother. Just to let us know that we are not alone. Loss does feel lonely.
The girls' Grandma is taking the difficult gift of running the house. She told me that when you feel the grief coming, just let it. It will be over in 90 seconds. That gut wrenching grief can't last if you acknowledge it. 90 seconds then you can move on until it comes again. I found a short article about the science behind the 90 seconds "Harvard neuroscientist and massive stroke survivor Jill Bolte Taylor found that any human being’s physiological capacity to deeply experience excruciating grief and pain lasts a grand total of 90 seconds."
The funeral service will be the last week of September. My plans are a bit jumbled until then, but I hope to continue on the road after the family comes together. It feels like too much. Where are the weddings and the babies and the joys to celebrate?