Sunday, July 08, 2007

And then we flew to Michigan.

We came into Lansing at a little after midnight. Barry and Sandy picked us up and we drove back down to Jackson. We went to the hospital the next day to see Gaga. I don't really know how to write about seeing her. She looked so different from the last time we'd seen her, at Christmas. Her vitality was gone, maybe everything that made her her was gone, or maybe it was invisible, or resting in a hidden place. She had dozens of get well soon cards taped to the cabinet doors of her room, and framed pictures of herself and her husband, her kids and grandkids and greatgrandkids and greatgreatgrandkids (!) on all the available surfaces. Sarah's sister Rachael made a collage of family photos from the last fifty years. The hospital staff were so kind and conscientious, checking in to see how everyone was doing, bringing breakfast and snack trays, and just being really warm and supportive. Thank God for good people.

Gaga died a few days after we arrived, the day before Adam and Mary arrived from Maine. I feel really lucky that we were able to be there to see her before she went, and to be there for Sarah's Dad and the whole family. Stuff like this, in my limited experience, is such a strange balance between sad and festive. Deaths have the capacity to bring family together, and that brings a dynamic that swings between retrospection and finding out how loved ones have changed and grown since the last time everyone was together. Lyle Lovett has a great song that I think captures this feeling, called "Family Reserve" from his album, Joshua Judges Ruth.


L to R: Rachael, Mary, Sarah, Mandy


Mary


L to R: Bill, Adam, Rachael, Z, and Barry


Barry Myers


Barry and Rachael

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