We had a restaurant that was called The Smorgasbord, back in Seattle when I was a girl. I never really liked the exotic Nordic dishes that much. My new mantra is, you only need to take it one dish at a time.
That helps, because I don't particularly like some of the dishes in front of me now, either.
The first dish was one where all community gathered round to celebrate and honor Joy. We'd had plenty of time to prepare for her memorial service. The date had been picked over a month earlier, to coincide with Easter weekend. For some this was just the kind of advance notice needed, to be able to pay last respects to her. For others the timing was so close to the tragedy of Easter to be re-opening a wound.
I was full of quiet appreciation of Joy's life, and felt she had truly honored her name. She was the most present and kind person I knew, and she knew the worth of a life well-spent, supporting her husband and choosing to serve in community, rather than working a career that competed with her husband's. She took her Homemaking degree seriously, and in the most humble and genuine way of any woman I have met. My only regret is that I let my own shames and insecurities keep me from creating more time to be with her during the days of her life that were free of ill-health.
Saturday, I cried during the memorial.and enjoyed talking with people as we lingered around a table of food. I didn't eat much. Our neighbor (and my husband's colleague), Joy's widower, also did not eat much,, but I saw him giving and receiving hugs and even laughing. If he has tears, they are private. I followed his example.
But I know all of us left behind, still regret Joy is not at our table, in body.
The next item on my smorgasbord table was my aching arm. My lower arm ached all during the service, needing visible support, which I found disconcerting. I found tiny relief in doing neck stretches, which I did in the most inconspicuous way possible. I was very worried that the physical therapy approach was not addressing my pain. Not by itself.
So, I went home and googled for information. Soon I could tell that the adaptations with the mouse suggested by the PT were not going to address a key aspect of my pain, which I tell was coming right from my mouse-wielding right hand. Searching for information about how to deal with my pain, and find the right equipment, was causing me more pain. Oh, I wanted my hand off this Smorgasbord hot-plate!
But as most of you know, our moving is the Smorgasbord main plate that I don't really want in my life. And I can't simply heal it. I must let go of my current life in order to make room for this dish to dominate my entire table.
Getting ready to leave is bringing up regrets, resentment, fear, sorrow, disappointment.
But, Saturday, because of Joy, it was a day of serenity. I know when it was her time to go, she went with acceptance. She faced her departure with mixed emotions too.
I heard Joy's final words were, "I want to be like that bird, flying free." And then she let go.