Andy and I have three kids and two of them lived overseas during the Covid pandemic. The third one lived in San Francisco and being able to reach each other in those uncertain times meant the world to us.
Spending those weeks with Brendan was one of the blessings that occurred during pandemic days.
Our daughter lived in London and just before the pandemic began, she met the man she would marry.
The health crisis aborted our trip to London to meet him and in fact we never met him in person until the next year plus eight months after they had married without our presence.
Many people lost much more during Covid than the opportunity to meet a new son in law before the fact and to support their daughter through one of life’s epic milestones. I know that and it’s made me feel like the pain I have had is somehow not worthy or big enough to share. But, you know what? Pain is pain whether it was meant to be caused or not and I’ve learned that my pain regarding this loss needed to be healed.
I’m writing this in the summer of 2023.
This July, our daughter came home and brought her (not so new) husband. It’s not a convenient time for them to visit because they’ve committed to growing a company they founded together and to keep it going their work schedule is long, arduous and unrelenting.
At their expense, they also brought in her husband’s family from Canada and our son from San Francisco used his vacation time and his own funds to get here. Our other son stayed overseas and he was missed but families came together and a renewal of vows ceremony happened.
It had been a very hot summer and the morning of July 26th rolled in promising to be warm. We all dressed in the special clothes we’d bought and put together for this occasion. Brendan, from San Francisco, tested positive for Covid two days before the ceremony.
Six of us piled into one car and Brendan drove his masked self in the other car. Taos Ski Valley was our destination. It is the place that drew us to live in Taos, back in 1982, for Brendan’s birth. It is where we spent a lot of time and uncountable magnificent days; skiing with babies until they were grown, skiing with friends, homeschooling on the mountain, hiking on trails in summer and winter, working at The Thunderbird Lodge, The St. Bernard Lodge and The Bavarian restaurant, and being ski instructors. It is a homeplace for sure.
We exited the vehicles in our fancy shoes. Ted, our officiator, and Michele, our photographer, were already there. We walked in our finery up a dusty gravel road until a sharp left turn and a few supersized wooden steps landed us in the cathedral of the deep forest. We walked together to the grassy spot that the river had left dry as she flowed along creating a symphony of natural sound. The air was fresh. The sky was blue way up above the morning gray.
Each person at the ceremony had given up something else in their lives in order to be present. Each of us was gifted those moments to heal, renew and move forward.
Each of us took the time.