Sunday, June 27, 2021

lots and lots of stuff

Hey y'all, it's been another hot minute round here.... but please know that I have still been writing, on occasion anyway, but mostly sharing it with my church on their blog. I'm also trying to round up all my writings over the last couple of years - the good, the bad, and the ugly - and hoping to put something together for other people like me. But who is like you, though, Kristi? Sad people, mad people, lost people, confused and wandering people. People who started out thinking they knew what faith and courage was about until the day they learned that they didn't really know much at all. And honest to goodness, all the books that I was given and hunted down myself were all trying to heal me way quicker than I was ready to heal. Sort of like the used car salesman method of grief recovery; and y'all, this gal is just too smart for that bidness. Or maybe not. Whatever.

But the words to follow were just shared on my church blog, and for that I am always thankful, but mostly endlessly surprised that they let me put my non-churchy thoughts out into the world under their umbrella. And so mostly I like to think of my shared posts on their platform as the writings of a Christian living in this flawed and messed up world, rather than that of a Christian pretending to live in a world of like minds and hearts. Y'all, it just aint so, and you may quote me on that.

So..... here is where I am today. On the way toward healing, which is a million times better than still waiting on the bus for that part of town.

I just had another heart to heart with Kid 1 today. This one being the next in line of so many of late — discussions that have turned into more of an emotional standoff than a resolution of trust. In short, he doesn't trust the innate system of the world to care for us anymore, and doesn't see the point in taking care of his health — because he feels that if the healthiest, fittest man we ever knew could die in seconds, why keep trying to prolong the inevitable?
And as hard as I try to explain the effects of Fireman Dave's sudden departure on us, individually and as a family, I never can get it all out in one sitting. Because it's sort of like the weather in Texas: thinking we've got it all figured out on a Monday morning but then a tornado knocks our house down that afternoon. People love to tell me that it gets better — "it" being giant grief — but I don't think it does. I think we just get more practiced at living with it.
But if I were to try, today, to describe what my hot seat feels like to sit in every day, I might go with something like this ongoing stage show in my mind…
Imagine if you woke up this morning to a world of normal and uneventful repetition — you're surrounded by your people — and you have a routine, and habits, cereal for breakfast — and yes, the quietly overlooked yet mega-beloved stability. You know who mows the yard in the summer, who sits where on the couch for movie night, and even the sound of the door when your person comes home from work. You know who picks up the kids from late-night football practices and who has the hard talks about life and love and all things parenting. And maybe even more than any of this, you know without ever even thinking about it that you can talk to your person, hear him and trust his presence in all the shaky places of your life.
Until five minutes later, and without warning, your person turns and walks into a strange new place; let's call it a closet. Hopefully a neat and clean one, but whatever. And it's fully soundproof and locked from the inside — with no key anywhere or ever. And dang it, you're stuck on the other side of the door pretty much filled with confusion and a fair share of ignorance. You start to wonder if you dreamed it, or if you're being tricked into something you don't want any part of. And you keep trying and trying to figure it out, but no one wants to help you. People tell you that it was his time to go in the closet; that he's better off in the closet — which, y'all, we totally do not know, because there could be monsters in there. And you cry because you know that all of that is wrong. And because all of them are off-the-charts stupid.
But each day your person stays in that closet while you try to figure out how to pay bills and fix things and think about things that you actually never even knew existed. And you want so, so, so, so bad to just go knock on the door and ask a bit of advice or just hear his voice. It's a lot like middle school history class when I didn't read that giant novel the teacher assigned and I just needed a smarter friend than myself to write down the quiz answers on a little piece of paper and slide it my way. Only you're sad this time.
So you start to imagine that this is all some sort of bad dream. Or one of those reality shows where people are traumatized and probably naked, but then rewarded with a million dollar prize for a classic outburst of fear and the ability to cause that same fear in others who are watching, as this keeps the ratings high. And you keep waiting only to find out that months have gone by and no one has called to say, “Surprise!” or “Fooled you!” or basically anything other than, “How are you?,” which is, and this should be no secret, a stupid question. And by now you're all glassy eyed and nervous and don't trust a soul — or the entire universe, and you start expecting the whole world to be locked away in the same unreachable closet, all while you watch in helpless horror.
And then after forever has come into full truth and you finally start to accept that your person is just gone with no option of return, with or without a receipt, you realize that he probably had a better idea than you did and that maybe something in that closet is better than the deal you got on your side. And you finally start to admit that he isn't coming back and that you better start figuring out how to do stuff. Lots and lots of stuff.
I think about the episode of “I Love Lucy” where Lucy and Ethel get a job at the candy factory. And they think all is going A-OK in the candy wrapping department till the conveyor belt speeds up and they start eating the candy and hiding it in their shirts to look like they can do the job. Uh huh, that's pretty much the way Year Two Point Five of grief survival is — the time when the rest of the world thinks you're doing pretty okay so it yells something like, "Speed it Up!"
I still can't say that much of anything is easier. But I've learned to wrap the proverbial candy a whole lot faster, or just eat it all. I think that's an official stage in the healing process.

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