Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 49


July 25, 2013


Day 49


I am having the most unbelievably busy week.  I have not been this busy since before Paul’s death.  It’s a bit much, actually.  My energy levels are just not what they were.  It’s not a bad type of busy; it’s actually good stuff.  But it’s all at once.  I’m starting to feel a little worn out.  I am so busy, in fact, it has taken me two complete days to write this post!


David has had three friends over for the past two days.  This was something he came up with shortly after Paul’s death and we finally made it happen this week.  That has meant a lot of extra cooking (middle school boys can eat!) but it’s been worth it.  David has thanked me repeatedly.  Having his friends here represented a bit of normalcy, I think.  Normalcy is important when your entire world has been shredded.


I’ve been sensing some unrest in my spirit lately.  It took me awhile to figure out what that feeling was, but I’ve finally identified it as anger.  I shouldn’t be surprised – all the grief and widowhood books have assured me that anger is part of the grieving process.  But it left me baffled because I don’t have a place to direct any anger thoughts.  I know I’m not angry at God.  I still honestly believe that Paul’s death is for our good – someday, anyway.  And probably even now, though it is difficult to see through the haze of pain.  I’m not angry at Paul.  I know he would have chosen to live if he’d been given the choice.  He would have lived for our sakes, if nothing else, although I know he deeply desired to be with God as well.  He could not help that he had epilepsy and did what he could to control it, by seeing a doctor and taking prescribed medication.  So who do I be mad at?


I have found myself fighting irritation lately when some people ask me how I am doing.  There are moments that I actually want to say, “Well, how do you think I am doing?  My husband is dead!”  But I can’t give that kind of smart-mouth answer.  It would be a quick way to lose friends, for one thing.  When people ask, they ask – well, most of them – because they care and want to know how it is I am doing, even if the answer is not pretty.  If they are not allowed to ask that question, then just what are they supposed to ask?  There isn’t anything else to ask, to express their concern.


I’ve also had several comment on how “well” I am looking.  That struck me as odd the first couple of times until I read in one of my widow books that it is a pretty common comment, apparently, given to widows.  It’s not an unkind thing to say, but I find myself wondering if I’m supposed to look bad right now – maybe some sackcloth and ashes?  Am I disappointing people that I don’t look more like a grieving widow?  I don’t know.  I’m wearing the same clothes I’ve always worn, I’m back to wearing make-up (but no mascara yet – it streaks with tears).  My roots really need to be touched up, but I just haven’t felt the energy to tackle them yet.  Oh, I really don’t mind hearing this, the more I think about it.  I don’t have Paul around to compliment me on my appearance anymore, so if I don’t hear it from others, I’m not going to hear it at all.  But I just hope I’m not letting others down by not looking sorrowful enough in my appearance.  I doubt it.  I would hope that their intent is to offer encouragement by commenting on my appearance.  I'm going to assume that is the case, anyway!


So, on the anger: two widows from church visited me this week for one afternoon.  I tentatively asked them about the anger thing.  Is it ok for a Christian widow to be mad?  Or does that show a decided lack of faith and trust in a sovereign God? Is it an indication that my spiritual life is slipping?  They both assured me that they experienced the same thing, and like me, they weren’t angry with God or their husbands, but concluded that they were just mad that the deaths had happened at all.  They assured me it will pass, too.  I couldn't believe the degree of relief that their answer provided.


I found their visit so uplifting and encouraging.  I sat there and cried while we visited, but they told me that the thoughts and memories that bring me pain right now will someday fade to a shadowy softness and there will be poignancy to those memories.  Where I once cried, I will smile when I think about Paul.  Their words filled me with such hope.  I needed to hear that I am normal and that while inescapable at the moment, this pain is temporary.


Speaking of pain – a more temporal type and easier to deal with, but horrible just the same: David and I were out at some friends’ the other night and were in a weedy area with them.  We got completely chewed up by chiggers!  Oh my goodness – we are both messes of red, terribly itchy welts right now.  I was probably bit more than a hundred times, all over my back, my stomach, hips, and points south…We started dealing with this yesterday and I could not figure out what had feasted on us.  I was awakened at four this morning by the itching and it suddenly came to me – chiggers!  So I ran to town this morning and got some special cream especially for bites from those nasty critters.  It’s helping, but the itching is still pretty awful!  I’m just thankful none of the Littles were with us when we were in that weedy area.


Today, my friends Don and Pam visited all day.  They drove over from Cedar Rapids to spend the day with me.  It was really nice.  They helped me do some more clean-up in the basement.  Pam sorted the girls’ socks for me – bless her heart.  I hate sock sorting with a fervent passion and had their entire winter’s supply in a laundry basket needing sorting.  Woo-hoo – it’s done now!  Don is going to restore my metal chairs the way that Paul had intended to do.  It's going to be a precious gift from him.


We all went out to eat for supper and they asked if we could stop by Paul’s grave as we left town.  So we turned into the cemetery.  To my surprise, there was activity happening.  The Swan cemetery is always so quiet.  In fact, in all the times I’ve visited the last 7 weeks, I’ve never encountered anyone else up there, ever.  But they were digging a grave.  The kids were fascinated and so I asked the digger if we could watch and get up close.  He stopped digging for us.  Sam and Lizzie peered into the newly broken earth with a great deal of interest and questions.  I suppose it’s unusual for a 4 and 5 year old to be that fascinated with death and all the different things that accompany it like grave digging.  But this is their world now.  They will never be as innocent as they were before June 6th.


Don and Pam took us to Jethro’s, which is a rapidly expanding local restaurant.  I’ve been hearing about them for years, but had never been there.  They are up to 3 stores now in the metro.  Paul would have loved this place!  My taste buds have been on the sluggish side since his death and I’ve been losing weight as a result.  But tonight – oh my goodness!  My taste buds were working for sure!  I had the best sandwich – the most delicious pulled pork, slathered in melted swiss and some other kind of cheese, in between toasted Texas Toast.  Holy Moses, that was good!  I have not enjoyed a meal like that since pre-June 6.


I am turning into an old lady.  Any time I go to a restaurant now, I almost always bring my jacket, even in the heat of summer.  I get cold more easily.  I did tonight and was glad since I was cold and was able to sit comfortably with my coat.  At one point, I stuck my hands into the pockets and ended up fingering something I didn’t recognize.  It was a business card.  I pulled it out and, to my horror, discovered it was a business card from the sheriff’s deputy who assisted us the night Paul died.  I didn’t remember him giving me a card.  Why did he do that?  This is the man who had to tell me my husband was dead.  But yet, I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the card – I wonder why?  It’s still in my coat pocket right now.


I had to start using my new checks this week.  These are the ones that don’t have Paul’s name on them.  I remembered that in 1993 when we ordered our first joint checks I took the first one and scrapbooked it.  I was so proud of that thing.  There our names were, together, joint owners of a checking account!  Of course, there have been numerous different checking accounts in the years since and we’ve ordered boxes and boxes more of checks with our names on them.  But that first check was still special.  I came to the end of our last book of checks this week.  I thought for a moment and then I pulled the last check out of the book.  It only seems right that I scrapbook this one, too.


It was with a certain amount of irony that I used the very first check from my new book – the ones that read only, “Mrs. Sarah Heywood” – to pay the funeral home for Paul’s funeral.  I didn’t plan that, it just happened that way.


A friend posted the following poem on her daughter’s Care Page page this week.  I had heard this poem before, years ago, but had to quickly scribble it down when I read it again this week.  It’s good.


I walked a mile with Pleasure,

She chatted all the way;

but left me none the wiser,

for all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,

and ne’er a word said she,

But, oh, the things I learned from her,

When Sorrow walked with me.


-Robert Browning Hamilton-


I really, really like that.


Today I was digging around in Paul’s shelf in the closet.  I was looking for something (unsuccessfully, as it turned out).  He lowered the bedroom floor by 18” in April which means that our closet shelves are really, really high now.  So I was poking around up there, while standing on his nightstand.  I found several boxes of plastic forks and spoons on his sweatshirt shelf.  I cannot figure this one out.  Why on earth did he put plastic utensils with his clothes?  It’s just bizarre!  I think these boxes used to be out in the mudroom.  How they ended up on the top shelf of his shelf is a mystery.


And it’s going to remain a mystery.  This is one of those things that I would love to ask Paul.  I’m sure he’d have a logical reason as to why he put the utensils with his clothes.  But now I will never know.  That’s aggravating.


And, right now, it’s hurtful, too.  I have so many things I’d like to ask and tell him that I will now never get to.  I dreamed about him last night.  He had come back from the dead and was kissing me passionately in a bookstore.  I don’t know the significance of the bookstore, but I get the kissing part!  But he had to go back to the grave and we knew our time together was limited.   Odd yes, but comforting at the same time.  Maybe it’s a parallel for my dream life.  It‘s only there that Paul can come back to me.  Once morning dawns and the children force me out of bed, Paul and I are apart.  But once I close my eyes in slumber there is always a chance he will come to me in my dream world.




































1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update.
    God knew you needed a busy week.
    Such blessings.....
    Oh, how I remember finding odd things and wondering why or looking for something and never finding it.
    My sister-in-law and I looked for a long time for a review mirror repair kit to fix the mirror on our van. We never did find it. But when ever we could find something we'd laugh and say Jim put it next to the rearview mirror kit!!
    Keep clinging to hope!
    Your comments about being apart made me think of something a fellow griever shared with me:
    At the finest level of my being, you are still with me. We still look at each other at that level beyond sight. We talk and laugh with each other on a level beyond touch. We share time together in a place where time stands still. We are still together on a level called love. But I cry alone for a place called reality.