Bitter Sweet

We had a family night together. All of us except for Dad (still in hospital – see the last post) and my sister’s husband (who is still in L.A.).  Now, you might think that because the patriarch of the family was in hospital, drugged to the eyeballs, and having trouble breathing, that the mood would be subdued. But no. This family doesn’t do subdued very well.

We cracked open the wine, white and red, and a cider for me, and we relaxed together.

DH and I made dinner. The kids and their aunt and uncle played spoons. Spoons, if you don’t know, is a loud and hilarious card game. They were having so much fun that in the end my Mum joined in as well. Then DD’s friend turned up and she joined in too. So much noise, laughter, fun, and enjoyment. Mum even won once! Major cheering! Major victory!

We ate together, and then DD asked if we could play another game together – chinese pictionary – sort of a cross between chinese whispers and pictionary. This time everyone joined in. It is the most fun to play! Everyone has a pad of paper and each person writes a small story (‘the cat sat on the mat’ or some such thing). Then you pass the paper to your left and you draw a picture of the story that you receive. Then you pass the picture to your left and write a story from the picture that you receive (without looking at any previous stories or pictures). The story passes right around the table and in the end you all read out the stories and show the pictures. The stories come out so incredibly wrong – some of ours had changed completely and totally from beginning to end.

So we were crying with laughter. Loud and joyful. It was a lovely night.

But not one of us forgot Dad. And all of us remembered that this time together was short and that DD would be leaving in a couple of days, my sister and brother in a couple of weeks. We all knew it would have been better if Dad had been there. It was bitter sweet.

Life is bitter sweet. Full of joy, full of sadness. Pain abounds, there is evil in the world and it affects us all. Sometimes the suffering becomes overwhelming. But I still believe that we need to laugh, and truly enjoy the light moments.

I know that the sadness we are experiencing is nothing compared to some others’ pain. However, it has been my experience this week that within the sadness there is great joy. We have laughed – sometimes hysterically, it’s true, but we have laughed joyfully together. We have shared deep comfort with one another. We have felt supported by the love of so many.

Sweetness in the bitterness of pain.

Bitter sweet.

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