Sunday, December 18, 2011

When the Generation Gap isn't so Big

She sits in the glider rocker by the Christmas tree. I sit across from her, firmly holding down my spot of floor. Around us sit three generations, some mine growing older, most younger growing up. Voices chatter around us despite the laps filled with plates laden with food.

But I hear nothing...only the words she doesn't speak.

The matriarch of the family for years now, she has buried three younger brothers. The middle one is my dad. The oldest and youngest a year apart, not enough years ago, and I see it. I feel it. Despite the full house, it is painfully empty.

"Aunt Bobbie," I call through the hubbub, "thank you for letting us invade your house again."

Her eyes twinkle with a sincere smile. "Oh, Sis, I'm glad to. We like having everybody here."

"But the ones who aren't here are hard."

The voices go instantly quiet, and somehow the room disappears, and it is the two of us...a generation apart...in the same place.

I know all too well the ones who are here are a joy. The ones who aren't here...are hard.

She nods. "Yes. I was just thinking about..."

And she talks, and I listen.

And the silence lets us.

She tells me about things she misses and plans they had. Her voice trails, and I fight the mist blurring her and say simply, "And it wasn't supposed to be like this."

She looks at me. Found. And I force a smile.

"No, Sis, it wasn't supposed to be like this."

"And some moments are just really hard." I say for us both.

"Yes, some moments are really hard."

"I had a day this week when I felt like I cried all day." I invite her in...into my day...to share her day...to let our days and tears merge...to take her hand from across the room...from across the generation gap.

We really are not that far apart in this same place together.

She nods, and her eyes wander thoughtfully. "Yeah, I had a day like that this week. I don't remember what day it was, but I cried a lot, too."

"Some days are like that."

She breathes in deep and looks down and away, memories tender. "Yeah, some days are."

"I understand," I say softer so the crack in my voice isn't obvious.

Her eyes look into mine again...into me again..."I know you do, Sis. I know you do."

And there is no gap...just two women in this place of being thankful for what is...missing what is not...emotionally fumbling in the tension between the two...comforted to be here...together.

4 comments:

Leslie said...

Your words are as beautiful as you are Sissy!

Sometimes when I read your writings, your words hit too close to my heart to be able to reply. Today, although these words also hit close, I want to, I need to reply.

I can't believe that we've got thru yet another school season at work without your mom...I've been missing seeing her, talking to her, sharing with her, learning from her, and just her loving me. I know that you too truely miss her.

As I sat here reading your blog, it made me reflect on my own day. Today was our family Christmas, yet another one without my mom & dad. They were missed by everyone, but more by my sister and myself. Although we joyed in all of our kids and grandkids being there, we missed those that weren't. We were there together. Together in our loneliness. Together in our happiness. Together in that space.

Thanks for sharing your words, sharing your thoughts, & for sharing your feelings.

I love you Sissy!

Leslie

Jerri Kelley said...

Leslie,

I am humbled...thank you...

"We were there together. Together in our loneliness. Together in our happiness. Together in that space."

In that space...where all things seem to come together in a strange kaleidoscope of blessings...the gifts that are...the gifts that are no longer...and yet are forever...

In that space...where you know the tears and no words are necessary...but you listen because you know they need to tell...because you need to hear...because you need to know someone else knows...

Together in THAT space...I'm with you.

I love you deep, Sis. I love you deep.

Jan Parrish said...

Beautifully written. Brought tears to my eyes.

Jerri Kelley said...

Jan, thank you. :-) It was one of my favorite days ever. :-)