2 deaths and an Abduction - a year of being a Walters

Obviously my last post set off some alarms around town.... causing worry, fear and texts to my children to hide the knives and/or any other sharp objects as their mom is on the brink of disaster.  To which I say, um, ... that is so yesterday's news.  I've been on the brink of lots of things these last months, and when I sit at my computer and use my dear, departed husband's death certificate as a mouse pad for all the crap I have to do each and every day,... the brink is pretty much the X on the map of my life about now. 

But I am here to state publicly, that though we Walters are typically a hot mess - and I mean that in every sense, as they boys will tell you that we now set the thermostat to a balmy 80 degrees in this here hot summer - not just so I can hear them yell, It's SOOOOOOOOO hot in here!!!!!!! - but so I can not worry about $400 electric bills till said time that I am able to stop worrying about $400 electric bills - that I have no intention of quitting this mom job before it is complete.  And an aside,... thank you God for the inventor of the ceiling fan, long, long ago who thought ahead to our sweaty summer and got right down to business. 

So on a more upbeat note than my last post discussing all things life and death and their ultimate value in the big scheme of Kristi Walters, I was asked to please share a few true to life tales, but for the love of God, lighten them up a bit.  And so I promised one particular reader that I would tell the tale of how I had to use the mens' room in a Taco Bell in tiny town Louisiana because whoever was in the one holer women's establishment had obviously moved in.  I could hear noises, and I knocked  - like a lot  - for whatever was going on in there to wrap it up on the double - but I finally had to give up and trust the cleanliness report of Kid 1 as he had already come and gone out of the men's and suggested I do the same and get on with life.  And y'all, that's pretty much the whole story of it - but if you know me, the emphasis is totally on the words Mens room and Taco Bell - which brings me full circle back to the major point in my lead up to it all.... that life has me constantly teetering on the brink of either disaster or adventure anymore.  Please someone tell me why. 

And this week I got a big ol' V shaped cleavage tattoo - where otherwise I actually have little to no cleavage - in my attempt to squeeze all the mom and kid fun out of every available day.  And sadly I feel women readers everywhere are now all a buzz about where they, too, can get a big V shaped cleavage tattoo like mine.  But y'all, it's really just a sunburn in the worst of places, along with a weird, boy short bikini line only on my left hip.  But fun is fun and it was one of my special days with my kiddos this week.  I think Kid 3 only went to the pool with us because he wanted to even out what he refers to as his farmer's tan that has him all stressed - but I'll take the love and attention in whatever form or for whatever reason. 

And one day we all went back out to Ham's Orchard and sat in some rocking chairs and did not much of anything else.  Was it forced fun week?  Very possibly.  And we tried to look cute doing it.  

Now on the more dramatic side, one day last week I got reports of Kid 2 being missing from work which in my mind meant nothing short of a mid-day kidnapping.  And the weird thing is that my mind was already blogging about our newest adventure and titling it something along the lines of "2 deaths and an Abduction - a year of being a Walters."  

Anyway, it started with Kid 1 getting an alarming text from a concerned, yet confused friend about Kid 2 not showing up for his job, and would he know where his brother may or may not be?  So after sleeping another hour or two, Kid 1 decided to become caring and alarmed and went searching for Kid 2 - whereupon he found brother's truck at his swimming pool of employment, but still a worried text from the friend saying he was missing.  Then Kid 1 called me and we collectively panicked, but chose to, one last time before alerting the authorities, check the lifeguard stand where Kid 2 was supposed to be yet reported to not be.... and yep.  There he was.  So we all breathed a sign of relief and then went to see the new Lion King movie.  I actually think Kid 3 slept through all of the drama and I feel lucky that it was not my life in danger and me dependent upon these children to save me.  

And y'all, Kid 1 is currently hitting the panic button about moving away to school in 2 weeks, and there's that.  And Kid 3 wants a tattoo to memorialize Fireman Dave, to which I can just feel David shaking the entire earth in a giant, resistent, please God NO... but yet, I am considering it.  Especially since Kid 3 has been the hardest to grieve our loss, and he feels that this will be something about his daddy that he can always have with him.  And the fact that I just this week got sort of a giant V shaped cleavage tattoo of my very own, who am I to say no?  So we are currently researching the possibilities and if it rains on the day we choose to do it, it may indeed by Fireman Dave crying about my parenting choices.  

And finally, I went on a non-date sort of date.  A really, really, really non-date sort of event as the gentleman in question is a retired fireman who will always see me as the wife of his dear friend, and who made sure to announce his non-agenda right in the middle of his invitation.  Yes, he used the words, no agenda.  To which I told him to get down on his knees that very minute and pray that someday, someone will actually have a Kristi agenda before I get too old to know what to do with it.  (A good and honorable one, of course.)  And I may or may not have told him my big fear of being the old widow lady who goes to the grocery store every.dang.day to buy a single can of soup - half to eat now, half for later.  Dear matchmaking Jesus, please take the wheel of love and someday find me the second best man in the world to love.  

Anyway, I made sure to tell him that I was gonna pretend that we were on a for real date so I could practice for the someday that I decide to do just such, and he pretty much said, Okay, Kristi, whatever, and we ate and talked and had a nice time. 

Maybe I'm hideous.  Or borderline offensive.  Or just married forever in the minds of people who saw our sweet family and made note that we were one of the unique ones.  But the hamburger was good, and the company even better.  And another week went by with 4 Walters still standing.

post script for those confused among us... the 2nd death in my proposed title belongs to my mom who died 4 months prior to Fireman Dave.  And I hope she is in Heaven fixing him that lemon pie that he likes and that I never figured out how to do.  

Don't make me come over there

This week after work and other tiring behaviors and after meeting with the Worker's Comp attorney and another DFD widow for mid-week lunch and supportive, yet depressing talk, I basically went the route of two steps forward, three steps back in my grief.  And y'all, a friend wrote a church blog post about his grief recovery and I managed to drag myself out of my crying heap to comment on it, as someone might who is traveling the same road -  though a few years later.  .... but the Gods of Facebook edited my comment.  Technically they hid my comment.... which to me is even worse because seriously, I could still see my lovely profile pic and my awesome distressed jeans, bad-ass boots combo outfit... but with the words, "this comment has been hidden" all the heck over it.  And yes, it may or may not have been a borderline sad/end of times comment about me waiting for my first class trip to Heaven once my kids are raised to responsible adulthood .... but when something like that is hidden, but something akin to hate speech but disguised as a political insult is allowed, I have to question even more than I already do - if some people got dropped on their heads as babies.      

And seeing that I need a new job anyway, I've decided to apply to Facebook  - to be the person who drives to the public offender's house and slaps them every time they say something stupid.  A forever career dream of mine, actually. 

And I actually think I long for the days when those of us going through tragedy did so in the privacy of no social media - not that I post pictures of myself being miserable, as I think that would discredit the image of poise and grace I have worked so hard to create..... says the delusional Kristi who tends to  forget that she's a messy eater and is more often than not, sweaty.  But on that note, allow me a few minutes to share with you some of the things that grieving people actually do not enjoy seeing, reading, hearing.....

1.  Pictures of dead people to prove your point - whether that be a scary point, a sad point, or just for shock value, moms who have lost children do not want to see a picture of a dead child to feel your passion for crazily not vaccinating your child.

2.  Meme after meme after meme of someone else's words trying to explain what the grief of losing a spouse feels like when you actually have your own spouse sitting next to you right now.  For the love of God.... Don't make me come over there.  Just stop it.

3.  Messages of encouragement that tell the desperate person to hang in there.  Especially with an exclamation point.  Because the reader of that message will then want to kill you.

4.  And finally, comparing your grief to mine - like they're both on sale at the store  - and thinking that telling me you understand how I feel because you were sad after your divorce.  Or, y'all, hold my purse, because this one's gonna make me dive right in - that you understand my grief because your dog died.  And don't get me wrong.  I adore my dog.  She's sweet and adorable and a good friend who acts like she's listening but is really thinking about the next time she can go outside and eat poop.  They are not the same. 

And might I suggest  - rather than trying to put into words something you don't, thank the Lord, quite yet understand - just send the grieving family a pizza.  Or offer your yard service for a weekend visit.  Something that seems so normal and insignificant to you just might be huge to the ones dealing with the weight of the world.  

And though I totally understand the idea that life goes on.  Though it feels for the widow that the rest of the world is on one of those fast moving conveyor belts at the airport on their way back to normal, and I'm the one walking alongside, slowly carrying about 10 tons of luggage and wishing for a ride to the other side.  Literally and otherwise.  One time I saw Oprah's boyfriend, Steadman, and his elderly mother on one of those airport carts and I wondered how he got to ride it since he's really only famous for being Oprah's fella.  One of life's questions to be pondered. Along with this one.... 

I spend a lot of time these days considering death.  And how that truly is the other side of the rainbow for us all, and how I think I've never been more comfortable with the idea than I am now.  

And considering so much about death makes me flip that same coin and question all that I thought I knew about living.  And though I had previously been convinced of my grand creation for the glory and good of my maker, I find myself now wondering - not so much if that little beginning detail is so much true, as it is useful.  Because knowing that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of my God makes me wonder if God's microwave oven just broke last night, too.  Plus another old car that he owns and hopes will last for 4 years of college.  And I find that when people tell me that little bumps in the road are just part of life - it's not so much that I disagree with them - as I have an ongoing list of life's little bumps of varying sizes that I have had to hurdle or dig under or through all by myself in the last 8 months.  It's that I now want to know why.  

I was, at one point, content with the general answer of glorifying God.  I'm sure you've heard the confident Kristi say it on the blog at one point or another.... But the Kristi of today, now sees that reasoning looking a whole lot like God having playtime at the Toys R Us. And y'all, we're the toys.  I want to be Barbie, if I get to choose, please.  Townhouse Barbie with the circular fireplace and modern lifestyle and well dressed Ken at her service.  

And I sit here today and question what it's all about.  A deeper answer than glory, please if you have one.  I thought after several decades I had finally understood my purpose here on Earth, that being to have and raise  a family altogether different than the one that raised me - where we all smelled like cigarettes and Budweiser and didn't really know it till all of a sudden we didn't anymore.  So I'm sort of stuck in the middle of thinking I knew a thing or two, understanding a middle aged person's age worth of life -   and not having a $#$% clue.  I'm also putting into practice some, but not all, of the profanity that was born in me as a child of crazy people.  But mostly silently, yet I worry that one day if my mind goes, that  I will spew ugliness, hate and racial slurs with the best of my ancestors.   

Which brings me to my final point today.  And I am firm in this belief, though I know it will make a few people uncomfortable.  I have always known that I did not want to live a tremendously long life.  I only wanted to live a life of fullness -  and once that quality was lacking, I have forever been positive of my decision to move it onward and upward.  Think Barbie Townhouse in the sky..... 

And because we shared that same philosophy, Fireman Dave and I drafted our Living Wills way back in our 20's - both of us confident that we had bigger and better plans than a low quality existence here.  But yet, knowing that about myself, and him, the first words out of my mouth on the evening of November 23, 2018 were, "Call 911."   But now I know that even something as widely accepted as CPR is simply a life prolonging measure that I'm just not sure I believe in.  And all the heavens are applauding as Fireman Dave just led a giant cheer that I finally recognized the error of my ways. 

Deep thoughts this weekend, yes.  Maybe it's because I had plenty o' time alone in the car, listening to some country legends and thinking entirely too much on my drive back from Mississippi this week.  But I got Kid 1 all registered for school and we toured the dorm he'll be moving into in exactly one month.  And ... little trivia fact...  if you were to visit Kid 1 at Millsaps College in Jackson, and take a left immediately outside the main entrance gate, walk half a mile to the adorably preserved Fondren neighborhood, you would find the setting of the book and movie, The Help.  I loved the book and thought it tons better than the movie, because turns out my imagination is always better than film.  

And here we are: me and my date for the evening.  I think he's sort of cute.   

One day I'll take a picture that doesn't look like I cut my hair off into a man do.  
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