‘Til the wheels come off …
I’ve been meaning to write for days now, but feel so absolutely scatterbrained that I thought I’d spare us the convoluted post. I feel scatterbrained partly because our life is scatterbrained. I whirled in from Denver late Friday after one the most intense days of my life. The humdrum of the long drive offered some much needed alone time to collect my thoughts and prepare myself for yet another Stillwater reunion. Before Friday, I hadn’t seen mom and dad in over four months, which isn’t long considering my past record, but four months in ‘mama’ time is like ten years for the rest of us. Her cancer has pushed fast-forward on the aging process, and though she’s still her old feisty self, it’s taken a toll on her body and physical ability.
After taking the long way into Stillwater, I pulled into the driveway, cut the lights, and sat in the car for a few minutes. Though I wish I could say I was thinking about something profound, I remember just being still…not moving and not thinking. For a spell, I was in neutral – neither going forward nor backward. After a few moments, I slowly turned and opened the car door. I walked into the house as I’ve done a thousand times before, and entered the family room to find mom sitting on her incline chair. She looked up and cry-smiled as I gave her my first hug in months. I kneeled next to her as she softly cried and I didn’t say much — I didn’t need to. After a few moments, dad came into the family room and joined our reunion, and we sat there sharing tales and tidbits as they came.
The days since have been emotionally and physically intense as we prepare for next week’s trip to Denver. It’s comforting to see mom and dad grieve together and come to terms with all that has transpired. They’re relying on each other for strength, and though it’s hard to see them in pain, it’s also healthy to work through the various emotions as they come. The other day, I awoke to mom calling for dad. I went into her room and quickly noticed she had been crying. I sat by her side as she continued to cry. She kept saying she wasn’t sure how she was going to get through this. Diane joined me and we both sat on either side of her and held her up (mom has difficulty sitting upright) as she worked through her sadness. That evening, dad and I cried together in his car, and afterwards, went for a Diet Coke, or a fix, as we like to say. We’re all working through this as best we can, and when the tears threaten, we just let them go (makes for a few puffy faced Lawlers, but what can ya do?).
We’re grieving the past as much as we are the present, and the future. We’re doing pretty well, and acknowledging all emotions as they come, which are honest expressions of life in the moment. And they’re just as fleeting. Thinking out loud (through the blog and to family/friends) and being open about the pain helps us process, and ensures that the difficult times will pass on quickly. We’re talking about the joy; we’re talking about the sadness; we’re talking about the pain of possibly losing two of our best friends, and the healing that is needed. We’re not sure what’s to come, and doing our best not to predict the future. And as I like to say, ‘ain’t nobody sailing anyone down the river!’ But at the same time, we’re realistic. Being realistic allows us to slowly move forward in our process, and through the various emotions associated with grief and grieving. It’s a careful and sometimes frustrating balance — sometimes everything makes sense, and then just as quickly it falls apart. But that’s the process. We’ll find a more permanent equilibrium in time, when we’ve been able to feel and confront all aspects of this truly painful situation. Now, we’re in it and it’s raw. What we’re going through is hard, and with all of this happening at the same time, it’s hard not to feel like we’ve reached a new level of cruelty. As my dad said in the car, it’s almost supernatural. We’re sharing the good and bad — as hard and intense as it is — because it’s real.
We ARE getting through it, and WILL continue to get through it – by hook or by crook. The greatest gift we can give mom and C is to be there by their side as they fight, and to somehow make their lives easier in the process. We’re a strong family of six. We’re in this together and will continue to be until the wheels come off … and then some. – J
Write a comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.