Angela and I were in Barcelona eons ago and had a chance to run around the town under the influence of heavy jetlag. This was long before the days of cell phones or gps. We had a paper map and tried REALLY hard to see a few sights before we hopped on our Mediterranian cruise.
We didn’t know squat about squat… But I did know about Sagrada Familia. It’s a cathedral that has been in construction for nearly 100 years. While this may seem a bit odd by today’s standards… Old-world construction like this could take a few lifetimes. Cathedral Notre Dame took 182 years to build!
I knew of Guadi before that trip and I understood this church was his unfinished masterpiece. We were able to get in the church and took a tour along with 100’s of other folks in line. The concrete/stonework was amazing. The old-world artisan style of the master blended with the modern architecture of the new construction melded together over the nave in a way that seems like something out of an alien movie. So much work and design for what seemed like a very modest-sized church.
This is all leading up to something… Trust me… I think about things way too much.
I think about the work and care we took in building the perfect person that was Summer. I would like to take credit for about 17 of those years with Angela. 17 years of figuring out the materials and molding them into the child, teenager, and woman she would become. Parenting is very much like sculpting. You take the materials and create.
Gaudi spent a large chunk of his life on Sagrada and in the end, he never saw his masterpiece finished. (Arguable that any of us will ever see it FINISHED!) I used to think, “What a disappointment that must have been?”. But as I stumble through my thoughts and memories of my life… I realize that anything I created with Summer and Aiden should have become complete or neared their completion long after I passed. We should be content in some way to know that something we started could continue beyond our lifespan.
Very weird… Very “should I make this post”?
Of course, these thoughts knock you around as they relate to real life. They may seem unproductive in the scheme of grief… Maybe? Maybe not.
When I think about lifeworks… It then comes back in the other direction. What if a sculptor spent 21 years creating a masterpiece only to see it crumble and fall apart before it was completed? It’s not natural. This was never part of the plan. You would never start the project if you thought it would end in ruin. Anything that fails after that many years of constant commitment has the power to break down the most steadfast creator.
No, Summer was not a failure on anyone’s part. She had an amazing life. She left a mark on countless people. Even so, she was a work in progress that I was sure would be part of the legacy of our family long past my days on earth. Aiden is also part of that legacy. Summer’s scholarship will be part of that legacy.
What else can we create or do to leave a legacy beyond what we are doing now?
Why is this so important to me? Why cant I just go on and live life without the “make and leave a trail of your existence” mentality? Maybe I have watched Citizen Kane too many times? Rosebud anyone?
I have had a horrible meme-like theatrical peace running around inside my head. Maybe I saw it somewhere else? Have you watched the original Karate Kid movie? The one from the 80’s. At the end of the movie, Johnny and Daniel have their big match at the “All Valley” competition. When Daniel shows a little fight, the sensei of Kobra Kai tells Johnny to “sweep the leg”. If you are my age, you know the rest of the story.
It’s not meant to be blasphemy… But I have a vision of God calling for the cheap shot and knocking around my life as Sensai did to Daniel.
In my twisted vision: God pulls Jesus to the side and gives the order to sweep the leg. Jesus is arguing about it like Johnny did in the movie, because, you know, he is “New Testament” and a bit on the kinder and gentler side.
Ultimately, Jesus sweeps the leg because he has to listen to Dad. All of this since that night at Paneara in Memphis feels like a cheap shot and meant to take us out. Take out our will. Our family. Our home. Our jobs. Our life. It all feels like sabotage of the spirit.
I have more to my life than two legs. Family, friends, Angela… Aiden. We have plenty of support that adds up to more than just me fighting this by myself.
Even so, I do feel like I am Daniel Larusso. Wounded. Shaking. Standing on that one leg.
Waiting for my opportunity to kick back.
I made a new category for this post… Greif. I don’t want to call this Family or Cancer. This is the aftermath. This is Grief.