Posted by: jt | March 17, 2008

i will ask you once again

It feels like a bit of a cheat, but I’m not doing 5 Things this week. One will more than suffice. At this point, I’m so exhausted I can hardly see straight. I got home last night around 7pm after traveling approximately 12 hours on Friday, 7 hours on Saturday and 9 hours on Sunday. Might I advise against this sort of weekend.

Saturday morning was my Grandpa’s memorial and, for those with immediate connections to him, tension – not grief – was the predominant emotion that morning. Two of my Grandpa’s grandchildren had estranged themselves from their families – one of my sisters, for eight months and my cousin, for thirteen years. Rumor had it, they were going to come.

Naturally, the hurts run deep on every face of these situations. The week leading up to the memorial was full of pointed conversations among the unestranged as to how to best approach the prodigal grandchildren. Some felt that their gall in showing up now was “bullshit.” Others saw their potential presence as an “opportunity.”

Guess which case I was pleading.

They did come. And while there were uncertain moments, for my immediate family, things went reassuringly well. I planted myself staunchly in the middle, literally and figuratively, between my sister and the more judgmental members of my family.

Please, for the love of my Grandpa, take your judgment elsewhere. For today. I don’t know what the problem is. Today, I don’t care what the problem is. Today, we show love.

And we nudge, just a little.

I sat next to my sister, with my arm around her, as my Grandpa’s pastor talked about his dry sense of humor and superhuman patience. I rubbed my sister’s shoulders, at her request, as my Grandpa’s friends and family ate tater tot hotdish and drank strong Lutheran coffee. And I paused and quietly asked my sister, so what have you been doing these last few months, when she noted her surprise that our cousin has been married for two years.

We nudge. Just a little.

She wouldn’t talk about herself – on any level at all – as I rode with her for the four hours from my Grandpa’s church to the small town in southwestern Minnesota where he grew up. She wasn’t ready to talk. And that’s okay. We kept things light and easy, like we used to do. We laughed and bantered, singing U2’s greatest hits and Beatles songs as a far-away sun vainly tried to warm Minnesota’s Ides of March.

And I really, honestly, didn’t mean for it to be quite so fitting when I breathed the words, I love this song, before John, Paul, George and Ringo let this one fly. I really didn’t. But for the first time in months, I have a little more hope that it might be true for my family. And, for that, I’m grateful.



  1. The tater tot hotdish article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it. :)

  2. “We nudge. Just a little”

    Made my heart ache with understanding, empathy and hope.

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