joy and sorrow

In just a short time ago some people I love, who only a couple of months ago buried an angel granddaughter, have experienced what must feel like a lifetime of joy and sorrow, much of it in just one weekend. And it’s not, by any means, over.

My nephew drove home from North Dakota with his wife. Such visits are rare and welcomed. So much so some of my own kids drove out to be with them. JOY!

Within hours of knowing they were coming, the same family got a call learning that another son was coming home from his mission early. Apparently this is not something you learn until your child is put on the plane to come home and you receive directions what time to pick up him or her. –sorrow–the kind of gut-punched, “I-don’t-know-what-hit-me” kind of sorrow, and yet also possibly relief at being reunited and to be able to wrap your arms around someone you love in order to travel this road together

That same day half the family (the extended, anyway, because there is more a less a corner of their small basin town that is either a clan or a dynasty of our family) went to a funeral for (if I overheard correctly) the last member of their grandfather’s generation.-sorrow

And the other half of the family attended the baptism of another nephews. JOY!

I wasn’t physically present on this particular weekend, but this family I love was in my thoughts constantly. I prayed for them. I held space for them in my heart.

Oh, and why did the first son and his wife come home that particular weekend? As I guessed in the moment it occurred to me they must have had a reason, it was because they had an announcement.

They’re expecting their first baby. JOY!

The next weekend (because we do not always or even often have a moment to catch our breaths), and, as the story goes, after not just one but possibly two fridges went out, I happened to see on Facebook a happy engagement announcement from the cute boy dating one of my cute nieces. JOY!

I was amused to learn later that the social media post went up before my niece had a chance to call her parents, so I think there was a little bit of surprise amidst that joy as well.

Cut to this past week where the unthinkable, unimaginable happened. We were not prepared. We are still in shock. And we are mourning the loss of the heart and soul of our extended family. My father-in-law missing his wife of 58 years. My husband and brothers- and sisters-in-law missing their mother. Their aunts and uncle missing their sister. And so many nieces and nephews missing a grandmother who loved them so dearly. –sorrow, seemingly unending, un-mendable sorrow

Yes, I know this is not the end. And yes we–at least some of us–have felt the sweet peace the gospel brings. We can only imagine her sweet reunion with her parents and other loved ones. But that does not remove the sorrow or the hole in our hearts. sorrow upon sorrow upon sorrow

[Day 93 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]

Post Edit: After writing this post I’ve been reflecting upon how both our greatest joys and our greatest sorrows are generally connected to family.