Sunday, September 6, 2009
We celebrated our anniversary in Kemah this weekend. For those of you who live far away, Kemah is a small port town with a lovely boardwalk that, although physically recovered from Hurricane Ike, languishes in post-Ike depression. We helped the local economy just a little.
I had experienced a lot of on-the-surface sorrow during the week, and had looked forward to a time to rest.
Maybe I was just tired, I told myself.
But I had forgotten that the only other time I had been to Kemah, we were a family of five, and the details of our long-forgotten outing came flying back to me.
Oh, no, I thought, this weekend we were supposed to take a break from mourning! How can I have chosen a location that overflowed with memories of Maura.
More accurately, how could I have chosen otherwise.
Sorrow cannot be put on hold at my convenience. It sounds cliche to say that I must embrace my feelings, but it's true. I feel much better when I allow myself to wallow or cry or remember deeply or laugh or scream or all of the above. At work, I have to reign in the outward expressions of grief, and, let me tell you: It is exhausting!
So I think that Kemah was a good choice after all. Rather than try to plug the dike, I just let the dam break.
And it turned out not to be the flood I expected. I allowed myself to remember each location--the stone staircase, where Joel took our picture from below,each of us on an adjacent, descending step; the shark bench and fountain--more pictures; the Aquarium restaurant, where we spent a long time enjoying the 55,000 gallon fish tank, but left without eating because it was too expensive. I relaxed into the sadness. I rested.
That evening, while in our hotel room on the boardwalk, Maura's high school choir teacher called with the news that the choir booster club will establish a scholarship in honor of Maura. She graduated from Spring over five years ago, and yet, she is remembered, and her name will be remembered for years to come. More tears. I can't describe the emotion. I think it was joy mixed with sorrow, but I'm not sure. Maybe part thankfulness. Maybe, awareness that at the very moment I walked through a Maura memory, others remembered Maura as well.