Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day, Missing Mom, Monday, etc. . .

It was a long hot night.
It was muggy and sticky in the house. I was sleeping on our bed with no covers. Our bedroom is on the second floor of the house and Trent gave it a fair chance and then decided he could not sleep in the heat so he headed down to the basement. I hadn't been asleep very long when I hear Trent come racing up the stairs, "The power is on!!!!" The room he was sleeping in has an overhead light and it had been left in the ON position so the minute we had electricity that light turned right on and woke him up. We quickly turned on the air conditioners, shut all the windows and doors, and within a few minutes were back in bed WITH covers on and a fan blowing overhead.

We were ridiculously happy all day long because we had electricity, but it did make for one heck of a labor day. 8 days of no power = lots and lots of laundry, sheets and towels to wash, clothes, etc. . . also lots of cleaning and vacuuming, it was a day full of labor but it was so nice to have power.

A few of you have asked how we managed? We have a very large generator that goes straight into our homes circuits. Theoretically as soon as power is off the generator is supposed to come on. (For some reason it didn't this time, but we were able to manually start it). The generator runs off of a large propane tank and it primarily serves to run our well pump. Because we have well water if we do not have electricity we do not have water. It also runs the heater, the water heater, and a select number of lights and outlets. We have gotten pretty saavy with our extension cords and whenever the generator is running we can run our modem and wireless (or we wouldn't have phone service either) and the cable box and TV. So I can't really complain-- there are many in our town without a generator and that meant no flushing toilets, no running water, and of course no lights or outlets.

This afternoon the kids and I went around the neighborhood. I pushed Owen in the stroller and the kids were on bikes. We made it about 300 yards when we had to go back and reshuffle things. Madelyn was hitting her knees on her handlebars and so was Catherine and Julianne. So Madelyn swtiched to Catherine's bike, Catherine switched to Julianne's bike, and Julianne switched to my bike. How did my kids get so big??? I'll admit choking back a few tears as I watched them ride up the street. My girls are growing up.

Tonight was a school night. After a couple practice "first day of school" eves, this one is the real thing. The kids are so excited and nervous. I loved the first day of school as a kid. We are headed to 2nd, 4th, and 6th grade this year. CRAZY????

Also tonight I was making an invitation on and was just finishing it up. The website has a dashboard where you can see all the cards you have not only sent, but also the cards you have recieved. I was flooded with emotion as I saw that the last card I recieved was from my mom. I had forgotten all about it. She sent it on Friday May 13th. I had just flown to Houston to surprise her for mother's day. I flew in on Friday, May 6. Shad picked me up from the airport and we got home just before my mom got home from her port insertion surgery. She rested and that next morning we got up and did the "Sprint for Life" 5K. If you haven't seen the video of that day here is a link -- at the end of the video you can see video footage of my mom crossing the finish line. She had been in so much pain and had had difficulty breathing but she made it through the whole 5k. She was admitted the next day for a collapsed lung. They had knicked her lung during the port insertion. She spent Sunday - Wednesday in the hospital and I flew home on Tuesday before she came home from the hospital. When I got home, the very next day I discovered lice in Catherine and Madelyn's hair and so spent the next week combing hair and doing laundry and going crazy. This is the card my mom sent me.

I sure miss my mom.  Who else do you call when you are combing nits out of your kids hair for hours on end?  Who else do you call just to see what they are making for dinner?  Who else do you coordinate your laundry folding times so that you can both just sit on the phone with your headsets on and chat while working as if you were in the same room? 

I have been reading C.S. Lewis' book "A Grief Observed".  I have always loved his books.  He just has such a nice way of putting into words the thoughts and feelings he had and as so many thoughts and feelings are universal, I always seem to relate to them so well.  Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book.  It perfectly describes how I feel all the time.  (I am going to substitute my mom's name for his wife's name.)

  • “I think I am beginning to understand why grief feels like suspense. It comes from the frustration of so many impulses that had become habitual. Thought after thought, feeling after feeling, action after action, had CANDY for their object. Now their target is gone. I kept on through habit fitting an arrow to the string, then I remember and have to lay the bow down. So many roads lead thought to CANDY.  I set out on one of them. But now there’s an impassable frontierpost across it. So many roads once; now so many culs de sac.” (47)

  • I am constantly wanting to reach for the phone, constantly starting down a road that would ordinarily lead to my mom only to find each road ending in a culs de sac.  I just love the imagery of roads and culs de sacs and of the bow and arrow. 

    Here is another one of my favorite quotes.

    • Something quite unexpected has happened. It came this morning early. For various reasons, not in themselves at all mysterious, my heart was lighter than it had been for many weeks. For one thing, I suppose I am recovering physically from a good deal of mere exhaustion. ... And suddenly, at the very moment when, so far, I mourned H. least, I remembered her best. Indeed, it was something (almost) better than memory; an instantaneous, unanswerable impression. To say it was like a meeting would be going too far. Yet there was that in it which tempts one to use those words. It was as if the lifting of the sorrow removed a barrier.
    • Why has no one told me these things? How easily I might have misjudged another man in the same situation? I might have said, 'He's got over it. He's forgotten his wife,' when the truth was, 'He remembers her better because he has partly got over it.'
    • Such was the fact. And I believe I can make sense of it. You can't see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. You can't, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can't get the best out of it. 'Now! Let's have a real good talk' reduces everyone to silence. 'I must get a good sleep tonight' ushers in hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted on a really ravenous thirst. Is it similarly the very intensity of the longing that draws the iron curtain, that makes us feel we are staring into a vacuum when we think about our dead? 'Them as asks' (at any rate 'as asks too importunately') don't get. Perhaps can't.
    • And so, perhaps, with God. I have gradually come to feel that the door is no longer shut and bolted. Was it my own frantic need that slammed it in my face? The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just the time when God can't give it: you are like the drowning man who can't be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear.
    • On the other hand, 'Knock and it shall be opened.' But does knocking mean hammering and kicking the door like a maniac? And there's also 'To him that hath shall be given.' After all, you must have a capacity to receive, or even omnipotence can't give. Perhaps your own passion temporarily destroys the capacity.

    I loved his realization that in moving on and returning to "normal" you actually allow yourself to feel the proximity of whomever is gone moreso than when you were in strong grieving mode.  I think of my mom whenever I am doing the most mundane little tasks -- laundry, dishes, reading to the kids, etc. . . 

    And the last quote I will share for today.

    •  Even the insane call, “Come back,” is all for my own sake. I never even raised the question whether such a return , if it were possible, would be good for her. I want her back as an ingredient in the restoration of my past. Could I have wished her anything worse? Having got once through death, to come back and then, at some later date, have all her dying to do over again? They call Stephen the first martyr. Hadn’t Lazarus the rawer deal?
    I just loved how this changed my perspective of the Lazarus story so dramatically.  That perhaps he ends up with the rawest deal of them all never once entered my mind. 

    I highly recommend "A Grief Observed" and I highly recommend "Shadowlands" which is a movie about C.S. Lewis and his wife as she battles cancer and loses to it. 


    Scott and Tobi said...

    Some of my dearest friends here in Malaysia just had a baby. I was holding the baby and singing to her when I started to sing "The Canibal King" and in a second all I could think of was your Mom and started to cry in remembering how as young girls we sang that song with so much joy in our hearts. Yes, it is the little things that bring her to the foremost of my thoughts. Will I ever get to that point where the grief ends and gentle peace fills my heart. I hope so.

    Love Aunt Tobi

    Kelli said...

    My mom died when I was pregnant with Bridger, she was 57 and died unexpectedly and alone. (we were on vacation) it was my youngest sisters birthday when my mom died and so she didnt call my little sister and my sister thought she was "drunk" and forgot so she didnt call my mom for two days, at that point they found my mom and she had been dead for a few days. I still 7 years later think, I should call my mom, its been a while. Or I wonder why my mom hasnt called lately. Hang in there!