Sunday afternoon, as we sat down to lunch/supper with our son, Scott, daughter-in-law, Martha , grandchildren, Jonathan, Joshua, and Gabrielle “Gabby” and future granddaughter-in-law, Amanda, we were recounting the events of the past week, Mike’s house fire, the rear end collision that rendered the trunk of our Malibu smashed, our lunch visit with Aunt B and Patty King, our lunch/supper with my friend from high school and her husband, church with Terry’s brother, Maurice. Somehow the topic turned to the Stages of Grief….we are one bizarre family! Gabby, who will be 14 years old this summer, spoke up and reeled them off: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. She had learned these from a U-Tube site, which frankly amazed me. I realized that I set myself up to go through these stages by attempting to CREATE A PERFECT EXPERIENCE.
Do any of you out there even understand what I am referring to? [and yes, I think I like the grammar of this question far better than the correct ‘to what I am referring.’]
YOU WOULD THINK I WOULD HAVE LEARNED BY NOW! I mean it is not like I have ever had success with these attempts for the PERFECT FAMILY EXPERIENCE: trip to Florida in 1970 in our VW stationwagon, trip to Colorado with our square dancing friends, who wanted to visit Wax Museums but not travel through the mountains, trip to Niagra Falls, New York City, Washington DC with our adult sons to pick up our daughter who was returning from Israel and Africa. BELIEVE ME, there are more. . .most of them providing some funny stories, at least they are funny now, but also involving Carolyn in denial, anger, bargaining, depression…all way before acceptance.
Everyone of these trips had good times, not so good times, a few mishaps, laughter, tears, etc, but NOT a single ONE fit my VISION of PERFECTION….or rather the delusional dreamimagery of harmonious family experience which I had emotionally invested heavily.
THEREFORE, I have often gone through the Stages of Grief over nothing more than a few unanticipated bumps or less than imagined family gatherings and interactions.
Before this past weekend’s birthday trip, Mike’s house caught on fire in Tulsa, so I knew they would not be in their home and would be dealing with multiple issues as a result as well as grieving the devestation and displacement of their family. Still when we started toward Oklahoma on Friday morning, my brain had already rearranged my imaginary plans to allow for this and to hopefully be helpful to them. [They really have it all in hand with their insurance company]
And you know what, by Sunday Evening after a long walk with my husband, with all my birthday visit to Tulsa goals accomplished…not perfectly, but still accomplished, a PEACE settled over me. I am so blessed that my three children have families they love and are completely absorbed by, so blessed that my mother’s sister, Beulah, Aunt’B’ is living close enough that we could go visit her and my cousin, so blessed that friends from high school would want to spend time with us, so blessed that my brother may be at the point of selling his house in Tulsa, so blessed to be able to worship with Terry’s brother….NOT PERFECT but BLESSED.
THE 70TH BIRTHDAY WEEKEND [in pictures and prose]
Friday evening, April 24, 2015 Dinner at Rib Crib with son, Mike and granddaughter, Addy…forgot to take pictures. Jen could not make it.
Following dinner, slowed due to slower traffic in the intersection at 31st and Yale in Tulsa to experience a not so gentle bump to the rear of our car.
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 Breakfast at Talley’s Cafe on Route 66.
Lunch on Saturday with my Aunt and Cousin–a delightful and satisfying time. So glad to see her happy and content and so glad to catch up on their side of the family.
Supper with Jeanne Meaders Wilson and her husband Eddy. Such a fun time, such good conversation, such laughs…loved every second of it. Just sorry I didn’t take a single picture.
Sunday, April 26, 2015 Lunch/supper with family at Golden Corral in Tulsa. Glad they have diverse selection of food.
Followed by trip over to Mike’s house so we could get a ride in his corvette, which he got this year.
After I posted on Facebook about our traffic accident, there were many comments but this one from Ann Harlan hit the nail on the head:
Retired, traveling..a few bumps in the road.. HB Carolyn..
Ann Harlan, FaceBook comment.
So even though I did not get PERFECT, I had a great birthday weekend. Did I experience the five stages of grief…a little…but acceptance came more quickly than it has in the past.
AND, I have decided to stop trying to make THE PERFECT EXPERIENCE a reality…CAUSE IF I DON’T I AM GOING TO MISS A LOT OF BLESSING OPPORTUNITIES IN MY SEVENTTH DECADE!