Saturday, September 01, 2007

End of summer

This month has snuck up on me rather quickly, rather stealthily, and I’m none-too-pleased. The end of the summer turned out to be more solemn than expected, and I’m not even close to feeling refreshed and ready to go.

What do you say to a mother grieving her oldest daughter, a beautiful eighteen-year-old fresh out of high school? What do you say when she is dishing out caribou soup to you, when she gives you a brave smile, when all you want to do is turn away so she doesn’t see you shatter into pieces?

Maybe you don’t need to say anything. Maybe it’s enough that you attend the community feast to celebrate her daughter’s life. Maybe all you say is “thank you.”

This has been a rough end-of-summer for Inuvik. We’ve lost some good people. I feel as though I could break down and cry at the loss, but I’m also just disquieted and in awe. I could probably just as easily smile at the little things I remember, at the kindnesses I have witnessed, at the quiet way each person has touched and changed me.

As I stood in line at the community feast last night, I noticed the children chasing each other by the river. Old friends gathered to chat about trivial and silly things. Although I was pained that such normalcy existed in the face of tragedy, I also felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. We continue on. Because we can. Because we have to. Because although we may feel that our emptiness is too great, the world gives us permission to feel joy.

1 comment:

  1. I keep checking every other day to see if you've finally posted something new, and how you're doing back in Inuvik. Any plans for your birthday weekend? Your fifth birthday up there already? Unbelievable!