when you lose someone- and i’m talking about after you’ve gotten through the initial bit of total misery, after all the people have left and the official family count is down and the food has been eaten and the how-to-survive-this books have been read- you spend all your time trying to avoid the sad.
and the sad is like the cold and the wet of crappy weather. avoiding it means covering up, hiding out, running fast through it. but it keeps coming down and it still finds its way into your clothes.
as time passes, you find that you’re better at managing the weather and don’t feel it stinging your eyes and your wrists as much. you can move through it without sprinting and you don’t get quite as saturated. sometimes there are days when it even feels sort of warm or dry.
and then years pass, and you’ve stopped even wearing your heavy coat and boots. you’re long since dry and comfortable. so comfortable, that you have even stopped worrying about the dates and situations that used to make you the most sad. you get cocky. you think, ‘i got this.’
and then there it is. you’re cold again. and your old coat doesn’t fit because the last time you wore this you were smaller and you don’t know how to handle this sad now that you’re supposed to be a grown person caring for children of your own.
this is how i’ve been feeling today. that familiar but ancient grief. i lost my sister 20 years ago to leukemia. we went on a make-a-wish trip as a family the year she died. i’m now volunteering for make-a-wish and i visited a family with children with chronic illness and special needs yesterday.
and today i just couldn’t stop wondering what my sister would look like now, how she would be the most wonderfully goofy aunt to my kids. how she would have looked in the bridemaid’s dress at my wedding.
i guess i got cocky. i poked the bear where it lives. and now i’m paying for it.
i’ll get through it and keep volunteering, but now i know that i might need to buy some really good boots in my size to keep warm while i do it.
and what a confusing blend of emotions regarding my kids.
worry. my kids are healthy and safe but what. if.
thanks. my kids are healthy and safe, thank God.
guilt. my kids are healthy and safe, why do i deserve that? or conversely, why in the world would anyone deserve having anything but healthy and safe kids? why has my life been such a crazy huge blessing? why has it been all break? (as in ‘give me a __’)
guilt again. because i really like that one. lately i’ve been feeling like i never have any time to myself and i’m stressed out about house renovation stuff and i’m feeling pulled and needed by both my very loud, chatty, demanding kids, and…come. on. in the hierarchy of needs, i’m pissed because i can’t polish my toenails. i want to smack me. what with our full-time well-paying, satisfying jobs we have after the educations we were gifted, and our beautiful home that we’re talking about making even more beautiful, and our 2 (two!) amazing, perfect children who are healthy and happy and incredible (and here at all!) and who are ABLE to communicate what they want/need. and dear God, then i can then GIVE it to them! sheesh. i’m such a tool.
awe. this family we visited yesterday is beautiful and functioning against all odds. i mean against ALL odds. against language and economic barriers, limited access to all resources, and demanding, challenging physical and mental impairments of several of their children. but i bet i saw them dispense 2,000 kisses to those children in the time we were there. smiles come easily to everyone in the family. everyone looking content and well cared for and loved. amazing. truly.
so, when all balances out, i feel thanks and relief and optimism. missing my sister, but that’s OK. she was great and i should tell her nephew and niece more about her so that they are acquainted by memories. and thanks that this wish family is living in so much love and seem to have some peace even in what must be a daily struggle. and thanks for the insane pile of blessings i have. first and foremost, my healthy, happy, loud tiny dictators. i’m so grateful for the crazy that they make me.