It has been eleven days. This morning at exactly 5:37am, I woke. The moment she took her last breath eleven days ago, I woke. Why, do you suppose? Was that her? What was she trying to tell me? I’m struggling to find her and feel her.
She has visited dozens of my friends as the sly fox she has shown herself to be. But not to me. Not to Mike. Why is that? Why won’t she come? She loved the snow and is getting a kick out of this storm, but that does not bring me peace. It makes me mad. She should be HERE enjoying it. Not sending it for us to reflect on her. I want my friends to enjoy their kids in this wonderland, but I WANT TO ENJOY HER TOO.
I felt at peace the days leading up to her service. I knew she was loved from all of the people who came to be with us, who came to her service and who loved on her and on us. I felt peaceful knowing how perfect the service was for her and how her journey to heaven was one filled with celebration of her life.
But now I sit here and all I feel is unsettled. The opposite of peaceful. The beautiful flowers that friends sent are now all dying. Yet how can I throw them away? The decorations from her reception have all been put away but now what? The snowfall prevents me from visiting her in a place I never want to be in the first place, yet I have to get to her and can’t. I have keepsakes from the events of the last eleven days. A handprint wih a thumb shaped exactly like mine. Posters that adorned the church with no where to go. A stack of cards I can read and still feel so hollow. A charm with her tiny fingerprint that I can’t bear to add to any piece of my jewelry.
Sure, it will come. Peace like a river, they say. Someday it will wash over me and I will feel less of the ache for her as time goes on. But what about until then? I walk my empty house in search for her knowing full well she IS NOT HERE. What until then??? How do I go on like this with this pain and this fear and this emptiness? We have no family now. Our family – our life – was ripped away from us and we are now just US. If it weren’t for my mom getting snowed in with us, we would be ALONE. When we were alone before kids, we dreamed of kids. We planned for them. Now? What?
In my worst nightmare of 12 days ago, we would be watching this snowstorm fall from inside the hospital. We would be stressing about family being able to get to us and help with the boredom. We would be on chemo and steroids and it would be the worst hell. I would give anything for that type of hell again because she would BE HERE.
Instead, her laundry sits in the basket. A pantry full of food we just bought that weekend for her persnickity tastes. The food in the refrigerator of hers long gone. It has been weeks since I sliced a strawberry for her. WEEKS. Her milk has spoiled in that time. Her dishes no longer fill the dishwasher. I had to pay bills today “just because” and used return address labels that said “the Rhoades family” and I about came unglued. The February calendar is about to be hung – pre dated with things for Kate. A life. A good, good life.
And now. Nothing.