The raw emotion of the past several days was finally given peace this morning as I attended the funeral for my former father-in-law. What had been so difficult to deal with the day before, suddenly all fell into place as my 'other family' and friends joined together to say goodbye.
It wasn't until after the service that I realized that everyone who my former father-in-law considered part of my 'other family' at one point or another were all there in the end. The scenes played out in real life as if I were watching a movie on the big screen. One of my former husband's stepsisters embraced her 16 yr old son who had moved to LA from NC several months ago to live with his dad. He arrived with his dad (her former husband) with just ten minutes to spare, having driven all night to get there. What made this reunion so special is she had been told he would not be coming to his grandfather's funeral, in an effort to surprise his mother on this most difficult day for her.
Then there were the moments following the service where my own children found comfort in their father's arms and then in mine. Never once did any of our children rely on their stepmom to pull them through. I couldn't help but feel for a brief few moments that for the first time in as many years we were as close to being a real family again as we had been since my former husband & I split all those years before.
Together a former sister-in-law who once was married to my former husband's oldest brother and I stood and embraced; allowing the tears to flow. She & I both were feeling the ache of what these past few days have held. The many memories that we both shared in, the laughs, the good times and the bad. There was no need for words for we fully understood the depth of things. The hug was sufficient.
As I drove away from the cemetery, I thought about how in the end, my former father-in-law was without a doubt smiling down upon us all beaming with pride to see family, both past and present come together to bid farewell. Of all the things he did or did not accomplish in his time here on Earth, his greatest accomplishment rose in his death. His passing made us as a whole forget about past differences and for a short while today we were able to bridge the gaps as we gathered one last time.
I would be remiss if I didn't say that as with everything, my former father-in-law's passing, happened for a reason. It goes without saying that his health issues ultimately took him from us, but God had a plan today. God took people who all live different lives, and some who have gone their separate ways and brought us together with one common goal in mind which mirrors His master plan for our lives in eternity where we will not only see my former father-in-law again one day, but live forevermore with our Maker.
For all the anguish and heartache I've felt over these last days, I now find myself smiling as I write this. No matter where life takes us or what happens to us, we are all intertwined as one. Our paths cross and we continue to move forward in different directions where eventually one day we will meet up once again. Life is just like that. We experience life in all its splendor. We take the good with the bad and in the end everything works out okay.
I have a sneaking suspicion knowing my former father-in-law the way I do, that he got busy right away working to pull off this ultimate feat of today. This is one life experience that has definitely changed me for the better and one that I will never forget. It has opened my eyes more than ever to what is important and what isn't. Going forward from here, I will do things differently. I'll visit friends and family more often (this includes my 'other family' too!) and touch base with those who I might not have occasion to see on a regular basis. Its too important and life is too short to live with the regrets of yesterday. Never again, will I feel the inner prompting that tells me to go visit a loved one who's time is limited and then believe I have all the time in the world. We have to live for the moment we're in rather than thinking we can always do it at a later time. For that is truly the only way to embrace life and gain all that we can from it while allowing ourselves at the same time to give back to it and live without having to face the 'what ifs'.
So I close this by feeling grateful for the ups and downs of my own life. They have helped to mold and shape me into the person I am today & because of everything I've experienced in my life, I am better for it.
(This post is dedicated to James Elmo "Jimmy" Farrell who will be greatly missed. And I live with the reassurance that one day I will see him again and can visit for as long as I wish without any worry that our time is limited.)
May God Bless his life & May God Bless us all!