Grief is a sneaky little bugger. It can retreat suddenly, hiding in the recesses of your brain so that you wake up one morning and think, "Hmmm...it looks as if the house has fallen down around me and there are giant rings on my toilet bowl. When did that happen? Somebody ought to do something about that." Surprisingly, the fog has vanished and you feel up to the job! You are very self-righteous and smug as you scrub and dust and vacuum. You even unpack the suitcase that has been sitting in the middle of the floor so long you forgot that you own that shirt and those socks (could also just be ADD). You are working up a sweat with your ambitious vacuuming when you reach the guest room. Out of the clear blue sky, a bolt of lightning strikes. Sneaky. This unused room was supposed to be his room. He should have been moving in right about now.
It will remain unused. There is also his motorcycle helmet in the closet; a reminder of the motorcycle, his most prized possession, which collects dust in the garage.
As you eat dinner with your husband, you notice that he seems remarkably composed. No indication of the tremendous stress he's experienced in the last month other than the pallor of his skin and the dark circles under his eyes. He is so strong, you think. He should have a perfect wife; one who is composed and compassionate, a soft place to land at the end of the day. Not one who smells faintly of a cigarette and asks him a million "what if" questions when he's so tired.
You are lucky that he accepts you and your neurosis lovingly. It must be like loving one of those ugly, hairless cats sometimes. Only I do have remarkably good hair, even though it's dyed the color of the late, great Elvis' currently (don't ask please). The man should be canonized for sainthood! He does not point out your flaws the way you often do his. He's just happy to have his three girls, safe and sound, within arms' reach. If he would just take you to get that tattoo you want, he'd be a total package (sorry, that was for his benefit).
Let me wrap this up with some wisdom I have gained in the last week.
1.) I believe that I can survive anything. You think that if "the worst" happens (whatever that may be) everything will stop and you will spontaneously com-bust or get carted off in a paddy wagon. This is not true. You will carry on and sometimes laugh.
2.) People in general are great. The awful people in this world are, I hope, in the minority. And when someone is insensitive to your feelings, it is usually because they are misinformed, rather than intentionally being unkind.
3.) I don't know how prayer works. I'm not sure if it changes the course of events but I do know it changes hearts and minds. God is the healer of all hurts. He will be with you to the ends of the earth, even when he won't explain suffering or make your pathway easier.
4.) Perhaps the most important lesson of all: the answer to all life's problems may lie in good pizza, Shock Top beer, and a marathon of completely brainless reality TV. My personal favorite is Monster Week on Animal Planet. Did you know that catfish in India have grown to be 6 ft. long and 200 lbs b/c they have been feeding off of partially cremated bodies laid to rest in the water? Of course you didn't!! You're welcome.
5.) It's okay to be a hot mess sometimes. You don't always have to get out of your pajamas before 10 am, provide adorable snacks for the school party, make every social gathering an extravaganza of fun, or organize the stuff that lives on your kitchen counter. Sometimes you are just getting by. I like to think of our family as "in transit" to something better than right now.