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String On My Finger

April 11, 2011

Tying a string on one’s finger as a reminder to oneself is an ancient belief.  This concept can present itself in many ways both in the literal imagery of a string tied in a bow and also as a proverbial, intangible string, reminding us of something very important.  The most poignant string that I find on my finger is bereavement whether mine own or someone else’s.  I even find it there while watching T.V. on occasion and last night it was twofold.

Today my sister, V is with her husband and their family mourning the loss and celebrating the life of her father-in-law.  He was something of a legend in our area.  I’m not just saying that.  He was a modern day pioneer that paved many paths.  He was simultaneously admired, adored, revered, respected and honored by a multitude too high to count.  He’s graced the pages of newspapers and appeared on the news for his achievements and subsequent accolades.  

But more than that, he was beloved for who he was as whole man, and not just his ambition.  I sit this day, on the opposite side of the state from where my sister is and sending my love, condolences and sympathy and can only pray that she feels them as tangibly as if I were there to hug her.

—- —- —-     

I was thinking of her last night before the new episode of Brothers & Sisters came on and this is where my twofold string comes in.  There was a funeral on B&S for Nora’s mother and the fictional crises that resulted made me think of how many funerals have cut to the core of each of us and how many times do we respond unfavorably toward the ones we love?

How many times do we go through life with impressions of people that we should be the closest to and keeping them at arm’s length because of those conceptions of who we think they are?  What would happen if we dared to ask the unaskable?  What if we braved the unthinkable and rocked the boat?  Would someone fall out and drown?  Would someone jump ship because they didn’t like the waves of truth?  Or would we draw together in spite of the turbulence?  Wouldn’t making a few waves be worth clearing the air?

I listened to Nora’s eulogy as I held my sleeping daughter and thought, ‘I hope no one ever says that about me.’  As trains of thought will go, I went further down those tracks and thought of what I hope people will say of me when the good Lord calls me to the great sleep.  Here’s what I came up with:

Dusty didn’t have friends because she loved them all so much they became family.  She loved God.  She loved her family, near and far and she loved her life.  She spent her life living, loving, laughing and holding on.  Now pass the peanut butter cake.

P.S.  She also loved knitting and refused to hold her wine glasses “properly”.


Nothing Gold Can Stay
Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.


My final thoughts to share:  Be honest while you still can.  Love while you still can and allow yourself to be loved while you still can.

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