Saturday, July 9, 2011

a season in the valley

This week has been kind of heavy, in that way that dark emotions can bring you to your knees. It seems that this season of our lives is destined to be one where we are walking in the valleys, not on the mountaintops. Two things have come together to create this heaviness, and while different, they are strangely the same.

It may take a while to explain.

I think I have said before that I was honored to be on a field trip to the Kennedy Space Center the day of the Challenger launch that forever changed space exploration. It was a confusing and odd day, in that I was in the fourth grade and not well acquainted with the concept of horrific accidents or God's Will or death, at all. My mom says I didn't understand until they starting televising images from the funerals of the astronauts, who were fathers and mothers and had left behind little children.

The children. That's what made me get it, made me grasp it, internalize it and let out the grief.

And they meet me here again.

This week my husband's uncle passed away from Leukemia, the very same thing that took my father. The family spent time in the hospital with Uncle Roy (who was 49) sitting with him, chatting, sharing these last moments. Roy's 11 year old son, would alternately smile and then climb up on the bed with his father. Roy passed early Thursday morning.

Again, I am touched by this fatherless child.

Friday morning dawned a new day, one of history making importance...the last shuttle launch. Not that NASA won't send anything else into space, or that we will stop exploring, or that we've given up on learning what's out there, but that they've decided to retire the shuttle. To most people this wouldn't be anything big, but I've been surprised by how sad this makes me. They showed the launch on TV, and I'm teared up. I checked out some articles on CNN and I'm getting nostalgic for that day. Sheesh, there was even a shuttle launch seen in Transformers 3 and I was getting misty eyed.

I don't know why it has affected me so, but if future space launches aren't as beautiful, as awe inspiring or as majestic as the space shuttle over the Atlantic, future generations will have missed out on something special. And for us who have been witness to a live launch, it is a memory to behold. I wish I had seen a different launch, one where we could have watched it in the sky until it was only a tiny speck on the horizon and then taken out tour of the Space Center. But I, and my other classmates, have been witness to a larger piece of history.

In this weird week, where the last piece of our history with Roy was met by the last piece of history with the space shuttle, where two tragedies leave behind children, I am left with what can only be described as a melancholy mood. Time will heal it, for sure, but for Roy's son and all other fatherless children, the wound is deeper.

It has been that kind of season.


Frizzy said...

All I can say is I love you and how well you wrote about such life altering moments you have experienced first hand.

My great aunt is very ill with cancer right now and it's not looking good. We were planning a trip to MT next week to celebrate my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. Instead, we may be having a funeral and grieving a big loss in our family. I'm praying for many miracles these days it seems. Just as I know you have been. Hugs!

Made For Another World said...

I'm hoping your time in the valley will be short. You are strong in your faith and that will carry you through. Keep trucking ;)

JellyBelly said...

The space shuttle exploded on my eleventh birthday and I refused to believe it because it was my birthday! How naive I was! The other shuttle explosion was the same night I celebrated my 28th birthday -- needless to say, I was always nervous when there was a shuttle launch close to my birthday.

I am so sorry that you have been having such a difficult time. I'm praying for you and for the repose of your uncle's soul.

"His Perfect Timing" said...

So sorry about the passing of your uncle Roy. I'll keep him in my prayers.
I cannot imagine being there for the shuttle launch. How horrifying.