In the course of my day it's easy to get caught up in all those things that don't really matter: matching River's socks to his shirt, putting on make-up before I go out, running errands, cooking dinner. So much of life is consumed by the little details that don't actually mean anything in the grand scheme. Still, every night I rock my boy to sleep and thank the universe for that time together, every night I kiss my husband goodnight and reflect on how lucky I am to have him, every day I think about my parents and Thom's parents and know that we would not be the people we are without them.
Is that enough? Should disaster strike, will I feel angry with myself for not relishing every moment? Will I regret all those opportunities to play with River I missed out on because I was doing laundry? If my world comes crashing down will I find peace with the way I've chosen to live my life or will I be filled with regret?
Last week my aunt and cousins were smacked in the face with unimaginable grief when my uncle Bruce was taken from them suddenly and unexpectedly. Shock and sorrow spread in a widening gyre as the news spread to his mother, his brothers and sisters-in-law, his nieces and nephews, his friends, his coworkers. He touched so many people and I'm sure that many of them feel as I do that he was too young, that we didn't get enough time, that it was too soon for him to go.
I spent the better part of a week alternately grieving and continuing to live my life (getting River fed and dressed, keeping appointments, going to playgroups). Part of me was relieved to have things to do, things to keep my mind off the grief, and part of me was irritated that life couldn't just stop so I could escape into mourning, bury myself in a hole and not come out until the sun was shining again.
Thom, River, and I flew to Nebraska this weekend to see my family and attend a service for Bruce. I was looking forward to having a chance to celebrate Bruce's life, finding a way to process the loss, crying and laughing together with so many people who loved and will miss him. And that happened, in a way.
But grief doesn't work like a lightbulb; you can't just flip a switch and turn it off. Instead, it seems to ebb and flow, alternately rising and falling like a stream. Eventually it may trickle down to nothing, that painful stab of loss gone, and I will be able to remember Bruce with only joy and happiness in my heart. For others, I imagine that trickle of pain may never end.
Right now I just feel sad. And I'm going to go hug my baby boy.
The Week's Top Family Posts — May 13-17, 2013
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