Monday, October 24, 2016

Learning to laugh again

Two months have passed since my last blog post. I know that's a very long time, but I didn't feel like writing.  Simply put, I've been grieving since my mom died in early August.

It's been an unexpectedly tough road.  I thought I was prepared for her death, but I didn't understand the void she would leave in my life. At first I was walking in a daze, and if you ask me now about the events of the past few months, it's kind of blurry.  Initially there were the crying jags, and if I had a couple of days without crying I felt like I was getting through things well.  I struggled to find happiness in normal everyday things. I would look at people and marvel how lighthearted they seemed.  It was a dark place for this "glass half-full" person.

I haven't been an easy person to live with. I've been moody, stressed and intense, basically "Debbie Downer".  Mike doesn't complain, but he gives me a lot of space (or maybe he's just getting out of the line of fire).  I have had migraines and stomach aches and trouble sleeping.  No doubt about it. I've been a mess.

And we started dealing with cleaning out mom's house and getting it ready to sell. At first it was very hard to go into the house, but without mom being there, it became a house with possessions.  Possibly I was compartmentalizing, but this separation of mom from the house made it easier for me.

And if there was a glimmer of light during this time, it was how well all of the siblings got along. We would work together on cleaning out the house, and then we would have dinner together and talk and laugh.  We went to Owensboro, Kentucky to see my nephew, Adam, compete in a regional cross country meet.  We had a great lunch together at Weinzapfel's Tavern, and remembered dad drinking coffee there each morning with the guys.  We sat around a bonfire at my sister's house and ate pizza and laughed.  And it occurred to me while walking this morning that we were continuing the tradition of when we gathered at mom and dad's for a meal, stories and lots of laughter.  I suspect mom and dad are very happy that we are continuing that without them.

At Ange's house for dinner after a long day of working on mom's house.

Family support for nephew Adam's state semi-final cross country meet.  He came in 12th and advances to state!

Sisters Pam and Ange.

Eric, Gary, Angie, Judy and Pam at Owensboro regional cross country meet.
With nephews Dane, Rich and Adam at Weinzapfel's Tavern.

During the past couple of weeks, I am feeling some happiness again.  The sky seems brighter blue, and I am enjoying the crisp Fall air.  I find myself laughing more which is a good sign.

I still have sad moments every day.  A song, or a phrase, or a memento startles me with a memory of mom or dad.  I try to not fight those emotions, but I let them in, and they seem to pass more quickly now.

My friend Ruth sent me this poem which describes it well:

The Guest House
by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

And I guess it's true that time heals, but I think it's more than that.  I've been praying a lot, and I can see that God is helping me find my way.

And this morning when I reviewed the pictures I've taken since July, I can see all the people who've been pulling for me and with me.  And I am so thankful for all those people...

With Melanie, Chuck, Cathy, Mel and Mike celebrating Cathy's birthday.

Visiting with Elena.

Enjoying an afternoon with Gretchen.

Hanging out with Mike.

Evening with Mike, Chuck and Melanie at a David Wilcox and Beth Nielsen-Chapman concert.

With Pam and George at Irish Fest.

Lunch with Craig, Gretchen and Mike.

Visiting with Stan.

Stacy and Stan enjoying an evening on "the old deck". 

Brian and Mike.

Dinner with Garth and Chris.

Thanks for bearing with me the past few months and continuing to read my blog after this long hiatus.  I appreciate it!


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