Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami and Helplessness...

One of the more frustrating parts about being on the road is the seeming lack of communication one has with ones family. I seldom write about my family, I hold our privacy, and theirs sacred and precious. But now I find myself in the terrible condition of watching helplessly as my family in Hawaii is threatened.

While my Son serves in Iraq, his family is stationed in Hawaii. My Daughter In Law and three grandchildren were wakened in the middle of the night and evacuated to higher ground, but I can't help feeling that if only I was there, somehow I could make a difference. How selfish of me, but none the less, I can't stop the waves of terror and dread from washing over me.

You would think that I would be immune from this feeling by now, I have been on the road for several years and my Son has served three tours in Iraq as well as a tour in Korea with few, if any, incidents. His family has moved several times in as many years also, I have an address book with more than ten scratched out and updated locations for them. They cover more than two full pages and have leaked over into the next letter of the alphabet.
My Son and His Family in Hawaii, just before he left for Iraq

Still, I worry incessantly, although I hide it well. Dwelling on it only brings overwhelming feelings of helplessness and guilt because I cannot do anything constructive about their situation, so I pat them on the back, encourage them, love them from a distance and try to get on with my life as best I can. But it's always there, always remonstrating me that I could have done more, that I should be there as my Grandchildren grow up, that I have somehow failed my family. I know it's selfish. I know it's self pity of the highest form, but there it is, and I can't seem to get over it.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I long for the ancient nuclear family. Mom, Dad and Kids living in the farmhouse with Grandma and Grandpa living upstairs, or in the barn, as in the "Grapes of Wrath" by Steinbeck. I haven't reconciled myself to the fact that life has changed and families must live apart in order to survive these days. I don't think I ever will.

I grew up within miles of my extended family, weekends were spent packing us all up in whatever vehicle we were presently nursing along and going to visit one or another of our many relatives. Many happy weekends were spent running around the woods and farms with several shrieking, laughing cousins while Mom & Dad visited with various Aunts and Uncles. Many a Summer I spent with my Grandfather on his boat, and larking about the Marina at Grand Portage, Minnesota.

We even made a monumental trip to Syracuse New York to visit an Aunt and Cousins in a car that my Dad spent an entire Spring rebuilding just to make the trip. I was eight years old and will never forget the journey across the Northern Tier states and especially seeing the great Niagra Falls. All because my Mom missed her Sister and we just had to go. This was a monumental trip for us, we were not a wealthy family and such a trip was unthinkable finance wise, unless you had a Mom who was determined to go see her Sister. She missed her, so off we went.

 This was how life was supposed to be, but is no more. I have made daunting journeys of my own to see my family, once I crossed the great Northern Prairie of North Dakota during a blinding Blizzard, both ways, to support my Daughter in Law in Minot N.D. when she was pregnant with my third Grandchild and my Son was on his first tour of Iraq. And once I even violated my personal "no fly" rule to travel to Wichita Falls, Texas to see my Son and his Family reunited.

For the most part, for the last few years, I feel as if I haven't carried my weight, I have been much too involved with my own personal life. I suppose a lot of it is because my family has matured and can handle most of their crisis' without my intervention, but I can't help but feel I am missing out on so much of my Grand Children's upbringing. These years will never pass again and I would give anything to be there watching it happen, but it is not to be, for now. I must stay on the path I have chosen, and place my Children and Grand Children in God's hands and pray for the best.

Hopefully God will bring us all together soon and we can spend our last years within visiting distance of each other. Until then, I will do anything I can to stay in touch and support my family, using the internet and other new fangled ways of reaching out and touching my loved ones in ways unimaginable in my youth.

The crisis at hand has seemingly passed, for the time being, I have typed my way through it, while keeping an eye on the developing situation on the internet and TV as it developed. The Tsunami, at this time, does not look to be as dangerous as they once thought.

Now my thoughts turn to the people in Japan, and my prayers fly to them, that God would keep them in his heart and help them through this crisis. I have friends in Japan that I haven't contacted in decades, I think on them now, with thier darling little Girl, who must be a grown woman now, with Children of her own. I hope they are safe, I have long ago lost track of their address and I am sure they have moved by now anyway. They were Good and Kindly People, and I have wished them well through the years. May God help them and their Countrymen in this horrifying disaster.

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