When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A series of goodbyes

We returned home yesterday after one last meaningful trip up north before the summer comes to a close. Our extended family gathered together in Sault Ste. Marie on Sunday to celebrate my grandma's life in the way she had wanted us to: with fireworks, wonderful memories, and laughter. The evening was a perfect late summer one, with warm temperatures and a gorgeous full red moon that lit up the sky as radiantly as the fireworks themselves. It was exactly the kind of vibrant family party that my grandma would have loved.

The drive up to the Soo felt different this time than it had when we did it back in July. It may have been the subtle physical changes I noticed along the way -- the slant of the late summer sunbeams, the hint of autumn colour already showing in some of the trees -- but I think it had more to do with the reason for our trip, and the wistfulness that always takes hold of my heart this time of year and makes me see and feel the world differently. It's difficult to say goodbye, to summer's long days of carefree togetherness, to family members whose love keeps us firmly rooted on a planet that is forever moving, to who and what we are at this exact moment in time. We want to hold on, to coax the warm sun to stay just out a little longer, to catch the fireworks' last brilliantly glowing sparks before they fall to earth and are extinguished forever.

The morning after our big family celebration, my mom, my aunt Christina, her two young daughters and I travelled up the highway that hugs Lake Superior to bring my grandma's ashes to their final resting place, a majestic bay where the waves roll in along a shoreline dotted with pretty rocks and washed up logs worn silky smooth by the water's caress. The drive was one I hadn't done in years, but its once familiar beauty filled me with a rush of emotion as we curved through lush evergreen forests and climbed hills that offered breathtaking views of the lake once we crested them. Saying a last goodbye to my grandma in this lovely place, where nature's enormity makes the effects of time almost imperceptible, felt peaceful, and comforting, and right.

So much about this last trip of summer reminded me that a rich life is filled with both sad goodbyes and joyful hellos. On this same weekend that we honoured a dear family member's last wishes, we received the wonderful news that we had a sweet new family member to love: Matt's brother Nick and his wife Krista welcomed their first baby into the world Sunday morning. Over and over the waves rush forward and then pull back again; the moon turns from a golden sliver to a glowing orb in the night sky. In the space between, each of us experiences a life in all of its wonder, its heartaches and its magnificent glories.

Goodbye, my beautiful Grandma. Goodbye, this lovely summer. Goodbye dear family, until the next time we can be together again. I love you all.


  1. Much love to you - she would have been so proud of this story xo

    1. Thank you, Louise -- you always have the kindest things to say. xo

  2. What a beautiful post, Lisa. The moon photos are stunning. Goodbyes are so difficult even when you have the most wonderful and appropriate celebration of life ever. The whole world changes when a loved one leaves. You go on and have incredible memories and smile (and sometimes tear up, of course), but it's such a different world and everything does look and feel different. Sending you more big hugs,

    1. Thank you for your very thoughtful comment and hugs, Shirley. xo