Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Price of Lettuce

I had to make dinner.

I had been in crisis mode and now I had a break from it and now I am faced with dinner.  But dinner was beyond me...the weight of that task hit me so hard I couldn't stand.  I have to make dinner.  How do you make dinner when your mother is dying?  How do we move forward-what does the mundane look like from here?  How will I take care of everyone, how will I clean, how will I go grocery shopping now?

"This is the price of lettuce," I thought to myself as I sat on the kitchen floor-not cooking.

So many amazingly wonderful people have come forward to offer love and support during this entire ordeal, and many of them have been here themselves, and, having survived, reach out to through a tow-line in our direction, to help guide us through it.

And for some reason, almost every one of the people who have tried to warn me about the patterns that grief follows have given me the exact same example of something seemingly mundane that can unexpectedly break you; The price of lettuce.

They are right, of course...It's easy to stare down a hole in your life and say "you are a hole, but you can't jump up and swallow me."  You can even taunt the hole, if you are staring directly at it, and soak in the absence that it is. Then you can feel strong, and capable despite it.

But when you're not looking at it, the hole can follow at your heels, one step behind you everywhere you go.  Then, when that little price tag makes its move, you see the numbers jump out at you, now perhaps higher, perhaps lower, or even just the same something ever present in your routine that you hadn't considered before, and you stager, which makes you step back, and down you go, right into the hole...waiting there, ready to swallow you when you falter, never needing to leap up expending energy of its own.

it is a hole after all.

And mine found me at dinnertime.  I can run around and focus on being in the now, of caring for mom, for my kids, for my husband and sister and friends...but I can feel this hole already.  I am beginning to taste the edges of what it is going to mean to be 'without' even though now she 'is', and my heart slows in anticipation of the hurt.  I know that at this point there is nothing I can do but love and delight and BE,  but I think I am starting to see the edges of my grief in a new and honest light.

A hole, in the truest sense.

Mine sits on the island in the kitchen.


Photo by my godmother Pat, thinking of my utterly irreplaceable mother while in Amsterdam.