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Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Silence of Grief

Last weekend we went home for my birthday. Saturday morning I woke up in my bed; it was a good feeling. I had 6 weeks of dust covering my furniture and mile of paw prints (the size of a small horse) covering my hardwood floors. In addition to my disorder, I had mounds of clothes that had been hurriedly packed and moved, along with odds and ends from Mom’s front bedroom when the hospital bed was brought.  The last six weeks had been a whirlwind of activity and endless tasks that had to be taken care of. Dad isn’t one to ask for help, so when he does you know he’s in desperate need. I had thank you cards to write, contributions that needed to be acknowledged, plants to tend (we all know how handy I am with plants), and dishes to return.  These are things Dad didn’t feel like he could cope with and I was more than willing to handle. My house with its dust and prints had been put on indefinite hold; such is the nature of love. Saturday was the first chance I had without obligations or the need to keep up appearances. My brother and his wife were coming down to go shooting with my Dad and my husband…. I was alone! As much as I fussed and cried about having an empty nest, I really had gotten used to being my own boss and keeping my own hours and I was looking forward to several hours of doing my own thing. As it turned out, doing my own thing consisted of cleaning and sorting and very little of just sitting and reflecting. Sitting and reflecting wasn’t something I was ready for, so I dove in head first into cleaning my house. I can’t say I got it all done, but I made some progress and it felt great to focus on something else for a while. The time passed too quickly leaving me with things I didn’t get a chance to check off like a walk and cleaning the car, but I’ll have other “doing my own thing” days…. Eventually.  

When we left Dad’s Friday, I didn’t pack anything except what I needed for that night. Every night I go straight to his house when I get off work and Mike comes when he gets off. Dad has dinner waiting for us. With the empty nest, we’d gotten used to eating… Whenever, but we’ll both admit, it’s nice to have dinner on the table when we get home. We eat as a family, clean the kitchen together then retire to the family room for TV, reading the paper and playing fetch with Dad’s funny as heck Corgi (that little stinker will keep you on your toes). When Dad gets ready for bed, I’ll go into my bedroom, throw a few more things of mine in a bag and bid him good night. It’s been easier for him to see my things slowly disappear, then to have everything packed up and move out in one sudden change. Coffee with Mom was one of his favorite time of day, so I get up a little earlier in the mornings and stop by his house for coffee before heading to work. I know it’s not the same, but it makes me feel better and I hope it makes him feel better too. When I get there, he has my coffee mug out and has it filled with hot water so my coffee doesn’t turn cold. That’s the kind of guy he is.  Although he’s usually chatty, he’s become very quiet. Sometimes we’ll sit and allow the silence to cover us like a blanket; silence can be good. “The days sure are long with no one to take care of.” Daddy said during morning coffee. All I could say was… “I know Daddy, I know.” And the silence of grief covered us again.

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