A Day of Mourning

Grief is personal. Death is universal. So far, no one has been able to escape death. During this week of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, it has been interesting to see the reactions, of literally, the world. Those who chose to use her death as an opportunity to push political statements against the monarchy and authoritative rule. Those who are simply curious and want to be a part of history. A chance to say “I was there when”. And those who mourn her for who she is to them. A Queen. A picture of longevity. A symbol of something more. Then there are those who mourn her personally. Her staff. Her children. Her grandchildren. Can you imagine being one of the privileged few who served Her Majesty her morning breakfast? Who knew how she liked her tea and her favourite dessert? Or if she took her teeth out at night. I wanna talk to the guy who watched her skin a deer or throw her goloshes by the castle hearth to dry up after mucking out her horse. Did the Queen muck out her own stall? Who ‘stooped and scooped’ after the Royal corgis? Surely they have neat and tidy rose bushes in the royal gardens hiding poop baggie depository cans! Seriously, friends, these are the things I think about.

Photo Credit: Town & Country Magazine

Grief is personal. We can watch the long funeral procession and wait in long lines to pay our respects, but how many of us have sat at the bedside table and watched as a loved one’s chest slowly stopped moving. On both occasions, you count the hours. Or minutes. God has given us such a unique opportunity to feel emotions. Pain. Joy. Grief. I marvel at the chemical reactions that occur in our brains, our physical reactions, our change in temperature, and our inability to keep tears from flowing no matter how hard we try. Some of us crave the comfort of others, we need a steady hand to hold us up and assure us that there is solid ground. Others of us pull away. We need our space to process and “work it through”. Only then do we gather ourselves up and press on.

I watched the younger generation mourn their grandma. Oh, I am sure they have been trained well to accept flowers from the crowd, and nod and wave. To stand tall in fine black clothes and try to not show emotion. But grief is personal. What memories flash through their mind’s eye? Christmas morning with gran? Do they wonder if her broach will get handed down? Do they giggle about the time when she told them off for being silly? Does she carry around mints in that handbag of hers to shush the children during church services?

Members of the Royal family in the carriage procession at Trooping the Colour during Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee in The Mall, London, UK. 01/06/2022 Credit Photo (c)Karwai Tang

We are told, “there is a time to be born and a time to die”. No one tells you how you react to either of those events. Nor can we cannot predict the exact moment they will occur. Who will be there? Who will miss it? Grief is personal. If you feel you need support because you are grieving, I encourage you to seek out good counsel. It is wise and worth it. Time does heal. May we take this time to reflect on our unique ability as human beings to experience grief. I have seen many creatures die. Creatures do not have the same emotional attachment to death that we do. That has been breathed into us as unique masterpieces of a living God. Cherish it as a gift. Because grief is personal.

Writer’s Block

Oh, my beloveds… I’m so sorry to say that mittonmusings has to take a little break. It has become increasingly hard to find topics to write about in recent weeks and I am beginning to feel a little writer’s fatigue. They say it happens. I’m finding myself “stealing” ideas from other places and trying to come up with enough words to complete a post.

And so, I’ve decided to take a little breather. It’s not “goodbye” — but rather, “see you soon”.

I suspect I will be back shortly; but the time has come to recoup, rediscover, rethink and perhaps rebrand myself. I have to do some thinking. Farewell, for now, my friends.

See you soon!

We Are Family

Welcome back to another week of my brain spewing out random thoughts and sharing tidbits of my (otherwise) boring life. This month was a big one for my little crew… we’ve been celebrating a few momentous birthdays recently, and my parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary! Which is no light task, lemme tell you! Their actual anniversary was earlier this month, but this past weekend was the grand celebration! Of course, post-Covid, we were trying to be sensitive to the fact it was a rather large gathering of people, in an indoor space, and many were of the senior persuasion. All red flags. Still, we figured such a milestone must be celebrated… so we went ahead… and ordered two (yes two) large slab cakes.

It was a wonderful party. Many people made appearances, including some old friends and distant relatives who travelled in. It was certainly nice to make connections again. Some were masked, others were not… but it didn’t seem to matter. What seemed to matter, was legacy, longevity and well, a recognition of what a true milestone fifty years of marriage really is! Which, of course, had me musing!

What kinds of legacies do we leave those around us? What do our accomplishments tell people about what is important in our lives? Do our children see strong family values presented? Do friends and family gather because they love us or simply out of duty or guilt for how it may look to others? How much cake do you really need anyway?

God loves families. He certainly knows we are not perfect. Yet, He designed us to be part of family units from the get-go. He created man and woman… and then children and siblings and mothers-in-law. He allowed Jesus to come to earth, born of a woman, into a family to grow, to be nurtured, to be taught and to be part of a bigger group of connected people. I would like to think that His little band of disciples became like “family” too. Bound together by a common bond. We talk about “church families”, “small groups” and “brothers and sisters in Christ”. We were created to have relationships with one another. To mentor the younger ones, to pass on wisdom and encouragement. I have learned so many things from others.

Saturday, at the party, we laughed about who looks like who and who has so-and-so’s personality. Have you ever been to a family reunion where you just “can tell” that cousins are cousins? I wonder if Jesus looked a little like His brothers? Did He have His mother’s eyes? He certainly had His Father’s will in mind. And it’s true what they say… you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. It picks you. And you are stuck with it.

God doesn’t make mistakes, though. He knew who belongs where and why. Don’t get me wrong, relationships are hard. And a close relationship is even harder. There is some vulnerability we must face when we are with the family. Perhaps you were taught, like Timothy, by a faith-filled grandmother. Perhaps you have been shunned by your family because of your faith, and your church has become your new family in Christ. The Bible has lots of examples about the good -and the bad- of relationships via relatives. I’m not going to list them, but it might make for an interesting study one day!

No matter where you feel you stand among those who share some part of your DNA, remember this: God placed you there for a purpose. You have something to learn from these people. It may be blatantly evident, or it may take time to discover. Hug them a little closer. Share cake with them. Share some of our cake with them… We have lots leftover!