Circle of Life

Shopping with Bonnie on Friday was fun and successful. I found a couple new items of clothing – need to keep the old wardrobe fresh – and, as usual I found that little something extra!! Bonnie and I have an insatiable habit of looking at jewelry and even buying some, if you can believe it!!! So it goes without saying we looked around a few of the nice jewelry shops at Limeridge Mall in the hope of steering her and the rest of the Girls in the right direction for a gift on my 60th birthday. As luck would have it I passed the ring counter at one of our favourite stores, tried on a ring that caught my eye just for fun and, again as luck would have it, it was on sale!!!! Well, it goes without saying what I did next. And you know what?? It looks great, I love it, Nat was pleased I found something and a successful day came to a close.

The rest of the weekend kind of went downhill from there. We received the news that our Aunt Louise in North Bay passed away. She had taken a stroke, was beginning to recover and then had a turn for the worse. In my mind’s eye there was no question, but that I would go to the funeral. Uncle Bill (my father’s brother) is the baby of the family, has kept an eye on us Girls ever since our parents passed away and through thick and thin always tries to be there when needed. I wanted him to know that we loved him and along with his own family, wanted to support them in any way we could. So after the usual telephone calls with some sisters of who was going, who was going with whom, what time they would be leaving, making overnight arrangements and attending to last minute details, Nat and I packed our bags and left around 9:30 Monday morning.

We had a good trip going up. The weather was great, the roads were clear and we arrived around 3:15 pm. I phoned Claudia, Darby and Michele who were well on their way and behind us, to tell them we had arrived, where en route were they and that we would wait and all go to supper, if they wanted. They arrived about an hour later, we headed over to Swiss Chalet for a much craved meal, returned to the motel to get freshened up and attend visitation at the funeral home.

We were nicely surprised at the visitation that a cousin and relative or two had arrived that we hadn’t seen in over 30 years. Everyone had hugs and kisses all around, love and condolences for our favourite Uncle Bill and his children and watched a beautiful video montage of Aunt Lou’s life. We relived some great memories, got caught up on who was doing what and who was now where, tried our darndest to get another family reunion going and kept Uncle Bill busy with all kinds of chitter chatter to keep him smiling. We then returned to the motel, sat in Claudia, Darby and Michele’s room and chin wagged until after 11:00 pm. The church service was on Tuesday morning at 11:30 and we had to check out of our rooms by 11:00 a.m.

I’m now beginning to understand the Circle of Life and to truly feel where I am in that cycle. While growing up you might hear about a wedding or two that your parents attended, maybe some baby showers along the way. Then they start attending anniversaries and a family reunion here and there. Next thing you know they’re attending an awful lot of funerals. As you grow and mature in mind and in spirit, you see a pattern beginning in your own life, but things don’t quite really “click” early on. Suddenly you start attending an infamous amount of wedding showers and wondering when it will all end. Naturally, you follow-up by attending an infamous amount of weddings, along with an infamous amount of baby showers that you just can’t seem to shake, but it’s all worth while after you finally get married and begin a new life of your own. Next thing you know, you begin attending special anniversary parties, along with somewhat smaller family reunions and then before you know it, you’re at a funeral!

I’m now at that stage where the funerals begin to out number the now few and far between weddings!! So today at my Aunt Lou’s funeral it finally hit me. While trying my very best to sing the final hymn “How Great Thow Art”, and watching my Uncle Bill come to tears as he walked down the aisle behind his beloved bride’s ashes, I began to understand and realize at what stage of the Circle of Life I was now entering. I began to cry for my Uncle Bill and knew he would have some long lonely days and nights ahead of him. With the love and support of his children and grandchildren he will somehow work through his grief and theirs. This was the first loss of a parent for my cousins – me, my sisters and brother lost our father and mother within 4 months of each other – but their lives will go on and they will all relive memories of their mother forever.

Nat and I said our goodbyes and best wishes to everyone and headed for home around 1:45 p.m. We had clear sailing until Sunbridge, Gravenhurst, Orillia and Barrie where we hit snow flurries, snow flakes, pelting rain and drizzle. The weather started to settle down and seemed almost trivial when we got to Hamilton and we finally made it home by 6:30 pm. We were tired and hungry but we would be sleeping in our own bed tonight. I gave Nat a huge “thank you” kiss for his understanding and support this weekend. His little smile told me “you’re welcome”.

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