Starts and Ends

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Tis the season for changes.

On Thursday, Jonathon’s mother died. Just one year ago, we travelled out to Wisconsin to celebrate his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. In August, a month later, they discovered her 2 inoperable brain tumors. All the pictures are now coming up in my Facebook feed. The picture just before we got on the plane. The mustard museum. And more. This week, Jonathon’s youngest brother kept in close contact via text. She was fading fast, marked unresponsive last Saturday. She was unable to swallow or speak, yet managed an “Love you” to her youngest son. She also said she  had no pain. They increased her morphine as her body shut down and she was able to let go in peace. Barb passed into glory on their 51st anniversary.

Two days day before that, Zac travelled up via shuttle to MEPS in Seattle. MEPS is Military Entrance Processing Station. You stay overnight, in Zac’s case in a hotel room with one other guy. Staff examine you physically, take blood and urine samples, and put you through bizarre fitness tests, like duck walking wearing only underwear. Zac took the ASVAB to enter the Air Force, scoring 97 out of 99. He was sworn in on Wednesday. On Thursday, after he returned home, he was offered a fusion analyst position. It’s a good gig, only open to the top scorers. Zac turned it down. He wants to return to MEPS in order increase his overhead lift from 80 to 100 lbs. and take another technical test to earn his first-choice position. He is psyched and encouraged and ready, practically jumping out of his skin.

It’s been a bittersweet week.

As I put Dakota through her paces this morning, the blush sunrise and setting gibbous moon greeted me. My head swirled with logistics for the trip back to Wisconsin for the funeral, the 3rd in a year. Need to get dress clothes for the kids, as Shelton’s uber casual style won’t cut it. Zac desperately needs a haircut. How will I keep up with classes?

Barb was someone who challenged the word impossible. She took on daunting tasks, creatively solving problems and making the best of the worst. We ate Isham pizza in her honor last night, a recipe she created while living in New York City as George completed graduate school and the two oldest Isham boys were toddlers. She got her B.A. in Fine Arts in her 60s. She pretty much planned our wedding back in 1992. She held out hope for hopeless situations long after many of us. She bought my wedding dress, on sale for a (then) astronomical $200. One of Barb’s fondest wishes was to see Zac graduate from boot camp. Zac’s endless term with braces precluded his entering any military group until very recently. I like to think Jesus whispered of Zac’s acceptance to her before she left us. Somehow, she knew.

I looked up at the towering trees. The air smelled piney fresh. We’ve had days and days of tropical, humid weather. Rain, dark clouds and gloom lasted way into our usual summer. But now, sun.  I thought about road races. Often, the start and finish are at the same place. You make a great loop of sorts and end up right where you began, passing through hills and valleys and sometimes dodging traffic. Everyone runs their race and finishes the best they can. We all came from our Father who created us; to Him we return when our race is run.

See you on the other side, Barb. Enter into His rest. Thanks be to God.