Was reading blogs at my brother's house in Denham Springs, LA, using Lisa's laptop and a mini-mouse-- instead of her headband laser beam mouse. Bruce and Lisa have WiFi, which allows one to wander from kitchen to living room to bedroom, dropping in on various conversations and various activities going on throughout the house. WiFi is really the only way to go.
Alice(Bacchini) in Texas directed me to Seraphic Secret, which is written by Robert Averich, with contributory comments from his wife, Karen. Robert and Karen lost their beautiful college age son to a long term disease. I was touched by their story, their courage, their love for their family, their tenderness, their wisdom, and their ongoing grief. Reading Seraphic Secret, I was overcome by grief. I felt a tangible, physical urge to flee their blog, but remained riveted through a decent bit of their archives. God bless them.
Alice made a comment which stuck with me:
"...grieving, which may be tabboo but is actually part of life, all round the year."
Travelling to Texas, we jumped off HWY 190 and onto Interstate 49, which is a pine tree lined straight shot across the upper of Louisiana's boot, angling from southeast to northwest. Beside me in the front seat, Jake assumed the "teenager position", which is slumped down with earphones on and eyes closed, only stirring every 40 minutes to change the CD. Nancy and Vachel assumed the "AARP position", which is eyes closed and asleep in the back of the Yukon. I had lots of miles to drive quietly, and lots of time to let my mind drift. I thought of Alice Bacchini.
Alice will soon load her ark with children and move back to Britain. She will no longer be "Alice in Texas"(in Austin). She will end that blog, and return to blogging at some unspecified time, in some unspecified form. I will miss her. Alice has had lots of wise and interesting and fun things to say. I've enjoyed reading her British girl's perspective on things American.
So, I think about Alice as I drive, and I know what's likely to happen: Alice will get caught up in a whirlwind of packing and moving and trans-Atlantic arking, and there will be nothing on her blog for a long time, and then there will be a note that she's in Britain, goodbye, and she'll be back someday-- who knows when, in a different blog format. And I start to feel sad. And I start to pre-grieve over the demise of Alice in Texas as I drive through Alexandria, Louisiana. My grief is a thimble-full compared to the ocean of grief at Seraphic Secret. My grief is a pinprick compared to that. But it exists. Grief is grief. A pinprick hurts. I think I should not ignore and push away my grief and pain any longer, as I have for the first four decades of my life.
I hatch a plan: I'm going to do that dating/relationship thing, where you avoid pain and grief by breaking up with the other person at the first sign of trouble, before they have a chance to break up with you. I'm going to not look at the Alice in Texas blog until the summer, after I can be confident the blog has ended. Then I'll go back and see what I missed, and I'll minimize my own pain and grieving in that fashion. This comforts me for some miles.
But, wait, a disturbing thought: This is no way to live one's life-- by avoiding fully living in the present, so as to avoid some pain occurring in the future. My parents are both asleep in the seats behind me. They will likely die before I do. Would I avoid being with them because I know I shall grieve at their deaths on some future day? Will I avoid feeling maximum love for Jake because he might die in an auto accident and break my heart, ala Seraphic Secret? A creeping and terrible realization begins to emerge: How much of life have I missed while I hid from some future grief which might or might not occur?
I'm writing bits of a book about coaching youth sports. Youth sport should be an end in itself, insofar as playing and competing and being excellent at sport is fun; and it should be a means to an end, insofar as sport builds character. One thing I discovered, which I had not quite fully understood before-- and, I'm sorry-- I cannot remember who wrote this: