Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Smell of the Sea and the Feel of the Sky

June 2009 has been a month from Hell for Margaret, her dad Joe, her big brother Frank and the entire family. There have been numerous trials, one significant loss and the unrelenting scent of sadness permeating all we do and all that we are.

Whether by accident or by design, the date that Megan, Frank's oldest child, and her husband Adam chose to be wed, turned out to be placed on the calendar where we all needed it. After a month of ceaseless rain and weather so miserable it appeared to have been special-ordered to match the mood of the collective, yesterday dawned bright and beautiful and never turned south. Here 'neath the snow globe, it was unquestionably the most beautiful of the first twenty-seven of June's days. It was a warm, sun splashed day - likely the type that Megan and Adam envisioned when they decided upon a June wedding. And the type that thus far this month - in this area at least - had been impossible to find.

June had been - until yesterday - a month dominated by sad family gatherings. Hospital visits, wakes, funerals and repasts had been the order of the day. Yesterday threw off the vestiges of sadness and ran roughshod over the gloom like a speeding freight train. There were moments of reflection yesterday during the ceremony where one could not help but note the absence of Suzy B., such as when my brother-in-law Frank, blessed with a tenor voice the equal of any you shall hear anywhere, sang Ave Maria to his daughter and his newly minted son-in-law as they presented a bouquet of flowers to the statue of the Blessed Mother. On a day on which his heart was racing and his nerves were marching double-time, he was (as always) pitch perfect. And having heard him sing that song on numerous occasions, often at the request of his mother, one could not help but feel Suzy B.'s absence.

Yet while she was not present physically yesterday, she permeated through every part of the day's events. You might attribute the dawning of the first gorgeous day of the summer on Megan and Adam's wedding day to mere coincidence. Not I. Perhaps it is the Irish in me. After all, we are the people who believe in the curative power of four-leaf clovers and leprechauns and who bend over backwards just to kiss a rock - all in the pursuit of positive mojo. From where I sat yesterday, I saw the fine hand and the good works of my late, great mom-in-law in all that transpired.

Cancer killed her body but it did not touch her soul or her spirit. And yesterday, having undoubtedly spent the previous twenty-five days reading the riot act about the importance of yesterday to whoever controls these things on a celestial level, Nona made certain that the first of her grandchildren, the eldest child of her eldest child, took the next step on her life's journey bathed in the warmth and the glow of sunshine.

And yesterday, all day, there she was smiling down from above on all of those she loved and who loved her, watching her granddaughter and the man she has chosen to live her life with as one, begin their journey. A journey into the mystic.

And a beautiful trip indeed.


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