2002.10.23 Laugh away the tears

Written by David Green.

Here come those tears again

Just when I was getting over you

Just when I was going to make it through

Another night without missing you

Thinking I might just be strong enough after all

When I hear your footsteps echoing in the hall

— “Here come those tears again”

Jackson Browne & Nancy Farnsworth


By COLLEEN LEDDY

I am fairly certain Jackson Browne wasn’t thinking of 44-year-old women mourning the loss of their mothers when he co-wrote that song back in 1976. And I sure wasn’t thinking about the possibility of life without my mother back when I was buying his albums as a college student. But lately, those title lyrics run through my brain whenever I start missing my mom, who died a year and a half ago.

Yes, time to brace yourself, here comes another one of those columns that threatens to explore the anguish of grief, plumb the depths of distress, wade in the murky waters of woe. Oh, just ignore me, it’s those tears again. I feel as if I’m having an on-again-off-again relationship with grief. It comes to visit and I keep trying to shoo it out the door.

“Here’s your hat. What’s your hurry?”

But it won’t be urged along like that. It settles in and puts its feet upon my couch, prepared to spend the night if it has to, until it shakes the tears out of me.

I try to avoid the critter, especially when it rears its head through my favorite recreational activity: reading. Certain articles in magazines, certain books: I just look at the title and think, no, not for me, I couldn’t handle that right now. They fall into the don’t-go-there category of reading material selection.

So, I don’t know what the heck possessed me to bring home a book like Michael Raleigh’s, In the Castle of the Flynns, in which a seven-year-old boy becomes orphaned when his parents die in a car accident. Both parents’ families vow to bring him up and share in the care of him.

I’d read a review of it in a catalog and thought it might be something to buy for the library, but I interloaned it first. I enjoy stories about the Irish and this one has a different twist, set in Chicago. Orphan that I am, I just wasn’t linking myself to that state of affairs. I’m a big girl now, right? But when I read the following line from Castle of the Flynns, I was a child all over again—a motherless child, at that, and the tears just kept on coming.

“...I became convinced that I lived an unprotected life, that I had lost a sort of mystical shield afforded to each child at the outset of life, and that the love of these grandparents, uncles, and aunts was a poor substitute for the genuine article.”

That’s exactly how life without my mother seems sometimes—the mystical shield of love and compassion gone, and nobody capable of enveloping me in that motherly armor.

But daily life goes on. It astounds me, the capacity of the human heart to mourn deeply but laugh loudly, to feel sadness but still smile, to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous children....

I’m reading an article that explains, with inside information and eye-opening insight, the workings of George W. Bush and the situation with Iraq. It makes so much sense I want to share it with my children.

“Man, this article is so amazing. It explains everything about how the world works,” I say.

“Can I have the comics?” says 13-year-old Maddy.

“Let me read this to you,” I say.

“We don’t have time for this. We’re on a tight schedule,” says 16-year-old Rosie.

“I have to go now,” says Rosie’s friend Sarah.

My nights can be filled with sadness and sorrow, but still, even when my children reject my efforts, I can laugh.

And I’m still chuckling when I find stray notes jotted down when we’re packing for a trip to New York. Maddy is explaining to a friend how to get more clothes into a suitcase.

“If you roll them, they’ll be smaller,” she says.

And her dad, the consummate light traveler adds, “If you burn them, they’ll be smaller yet.”

But of course, there’s still the “but...”

Humor is one of the greatest gifts of the universe, but it’s not always a match for one of life’s cruelest jokes, that we all have to die. And I know it won’t be long before I’ll be singing the Jackson Browne blues.

Here come those tears again…

    – Oct. 23, 2002 
  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

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