They died within months of each other after 76 years in a marriage that began in 1941. He was 24, and she was 19 years old. It is only now that I begin to understand what it must have been like, being that young, the world in upheaval, making adult decisions in the face of uncertainty. I have not yet lived as many years as their marriage lasted. I may not, after all. We are in the midst of another time of uncertainty, upheaval, and ill will. They did not fully understand—either one of them—but they knew what decisions to make. They knew what to do. I have a good idea, I think, of what is happening and what is pending. Unlike them, I do not see a path through to a good end. “Now” is not “then”, and we are not they.
Mother was (probably still is) the “stand up and be counted” sort. Father was more of a fatalist, mourning before he died for the world into which his great-grandchildren are being born; I trust that he’s comforted (not consoled) by the One who sees all people, time, and places at a glance.
I am not comforted.
I can be comforted.
Endings are contained in and by their beginnings. I can trust in the one who guards both the going out and the coming in.
Trust does not come easily, because I have personal convictions concerning the sorts of paths that I would see history take, going forward. I would like to see those resolutions come about while I watch from my present vantage point.
I sympathize with my mother, I think. I really want to get angry and strike out, to beat the world into decent, proper shape. I want to make it happen. I cannot, nor could I rally the world to do what I cannot on my own.
I can only do what I can do and measure, at the end, what I have achieved against own yardstick. I am not an angry person, nor do I believe that am I called to be one. I have to find my own path, as they found theirs and followed them to completion, satisfied with having done so and peacefully letting go.
It’s gotten late. I think that I’ll turn off the alarm and see if I can sleep in.