Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Gathering of the Clan

My father's memorial service will be held three weeks from today. I have eleven days to get my act together before my plane takes off, and I arrive in Ohio, at my mom's. I finally got my international driver's license the other day, and I have my re-entry permit already in my passport. I'll get out my suitcase soon and begin to make lists of things to take and what I need to buy while in the states. Thus start the pre-travel jitters that promise to rob me of sleep and peace of mind for the remainder of my preparation time!

The one glowing reward factor--the carrot dangling in front of this old pack mule, as it were--is the thought of the entire family gathered together for the first time in nine long years! This time we'll also welcome to the reunion my first cousin and his wife, someone I haven't seen in over forty years! (We've completely missed out on each others' best years! ha!) So that is an additional 'carrot!'

I am really going to enjoy this opportunity to reunite! My oldest friend from childhood is coming, as well as my oldest friend from my life in Japan. Such blessings to sweeten and refresh this time of grief's closure. May all go smoothly and may my mom's heart be blessed by the gathering of the clan!


alexcappa said...

And I guess your son is going to be there, which is great for you.
Funerals are extremeley sad and hard but at the same time, you are able to meet everyone again + feel that they haven't forgotten the person who just died, that's a very comforting feeling.
I'll think of you.
Cheers from France.

Sal said...

Living so far away has made losing loved ones less painful; the loss is only sharply felt when back on home turf, and there's a hole where they used to be. So I know I am going to feel Dad's absence much more after arriving at my mom's house and Daddy's not there. Even the last time I visited them and he couldn't remember who I was anymore (summer of '07), at least he was there, physically!

But the memorial service will be a chance to find closure in this experience, which I genuinely welcome. It has been wonderful reading the essays of friends and family that have come in the past three months (as I requested in my Christmas letter). I was able to make a nice booklet with all of them saved among many photos of my dad. I can give this album to my mom, and she can enjoy remembering what an impact my dad had on so many people in the days to come. This will help her adjust to the "hole" in her life, too, I hope.

Thank you for thinking of me, Alex!

Deb Dornon said...

Sally - I hope to come to your service for your father. Can you tell me a time? Praying for safe travels for you...

Sal said...

Deb, it'll be held at Otterbein at 2pm 3/21 in the main sanctuary / multipurpose room. There's a reception afterwards in the Philippi Meeting Room. You're welcome to both! Looking forward to seeing you there, or at another time, if you can spare the time. At the service and reception, I'll be engaged in a lot of conversations, so I do hope to see you or at least gab on the phone another time. Bless you for wanting to come.

Marie Carré said...

I love family's gathering like that. And how a wonderful idea the booklet was (I think).
I feel the same when losing a loved one, I feel shocked when I hear the news on the phone, but maybe because of the distance, it doesn't seem so real until you go back home!
And, that's maybe because the loved ones stay alive our hearts, too.

Sal said...

Thank you for your comment. Have you experienced losing someone close to you since you've lived in Japan? I've lost 3 grandparents, an uncle and now my dad. I agree with you that they live on in our hearts. On some level, too, they may seem even closer, as heaven feels much closer to me than the US does!

After reading your comment, I wrote about the booklet I've been making in my blog. You inspired me to! Thanks.

Marie Carré said...

I've lost a grand-mother, an aunt and a grand-aunt since I've been living in Japan.

It's true that heaven can feel closer than your own country.