Monday, April 29, 2013


I'm definitely in a little bit of a funk.  I've been in my hometown of Louisville the past two days, attending the funeral of my brother-in-law's mother.  That's kind of a mouthful, and I'm sure your first thought is that it's strange to attend all of the funeral events of someone to whom I'm not even related.  The reality is that I spent more time with her and her husband on holidays than much of my extended family.  My sister got custody of me on my 13th birthday, so from that point on, my brother-in-law's parents were sort of like my grandparents. Christmas, Thanksgiving...all of those holidays were spent with them. Even after moving to Lexington, getting married, and having kids, we still go to their house on holidays.

Amelia with Mrs. Clemmons, Christmas 2009.

Having Christmas dinner in the same chair, Christmas 2011. 

Christmas at the Clemmons', 2012.
Mrs. Clemmons was a wonderful lady.  Her eulogy today was very touching and authentic. Unlike many funerals, where the presiding minister doesn't really know the deceased, this man was truly part of the family, and so the stories and the experiences that he shared were very real and poignant.  My brother-in-law asked that he compare his mom and dad to Marie and Frank from 'Everybody Loves Raymond', and despite the somber mood, that drew a chuckle from the audience--mostly because it was true. Now, I'm sure there are stories about how the family dynamics were a on the show, but mostly I thought of how, like Marie, she loved her son and her grandchildren more than anything.  It's not an exaggeration; when the pastor asked Mr. Clemmons to talk about Mrs. Clemmons' biggest joys in life, he didn't hesitate to say it was her grandkids.  She was at every sporting event--and let me tell you, my nephews played baseball from the time they started walking until, well, now--both played college ball. Basketball games, go-cart races...anything they did, she was there. Just a very loving, kind mother and grandmother. She will be missed.

The other side to my current state of mind is that being in Louisville for the funeral brought up lots of... history. Visits from cousins I don't see very often but was incredibly close to growing up,  telling stories about our childhoods, which were anything but ordinary (and honestly, not in a good way), going to the funeral which took place in the same cemetery where my mother is buried. Lots of heavy, heavy stuff.  When you combine that with the fact that, as part of my current get-mentally-fit regime I am actually DEALING with issues from my past instead of kind of pretending it never happened, you get a person with too much on her mind and an exhausting drive back to Lexington.

Life is fragile. Nothing is guaranteed. Mrs. Clemmons was very sick for a very long time, but another family member lost her loved one in a very sudden way only a week before. Every single day is a gift, and we need to live with that in mind. I kept coming back to that thought over and over today, and I vowed to make even more of an effort to cherish each little moment with the kids.  Today, I took time to listen to every single story they wanted to tell, to give acknowledgement to even the most seemingly insignificant of moments with them. I played cars with Anderson at 7:30 this morning because he so sweetly asked me, "Wanna come in my room?" and then, "Do you want to pick out a car?"  I hit my elbow and made a noise, and Amelia said, "What happened? What hurts?"  I responded, "I hit my elbow and it hurts!!". Then, sweet little girl replied, "Sometimes I hit my elbow too, and it hurts. I'm sorry."  Nothing better than watching your children develop empathy, and it was even more meaningful to me today.  On the permanent to-do list for me right now:  make each moment count, and provide the most safe, stable childhood for my kids as humanly possible, so that they can't sit around one day and tell horrible stories at the dinner table.

Pretending his Fisher-Price bus is "The Story Bus". This little man got on the bus again today He was apparently terrified but determined.  So PROUD.

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