Today feels unbearable. No profound thoughts or grapplings with life and death or the afterlife.
I go to Target to stock up on paper towels, toilet paper, and that sort of thing. I’m also working on a dress up station for Audrey for Christmas so needed a long mirror and some play stuff. I walk around and see a bunch of other moms…two I know who probably saw me but didn’t want to say hi. That’s OK- I didn’t really either.
But I watched them- one carrying her new baby in a baby carrier, while her toddler straggled behind her- just like that commercial for Walmart. And I thought- “Wow, you have everything. You have it all.” I had that too once. I wondered if they knew how untouched they were. I wondered if I had done something terribly wrong. It’s no surprise people ask Jesus when they encounter the blind man- “Did this man or his parents sin?” It just seems like someone has to be responsible. And in our society- there is always someone to blame. So, I wonder- why was I selected for this?
It’s harder lately not to feel self-pity and ask the why me question. Because in reality, though we all encounter suffering of some kind, hundreds and thousands of people will never have to endure this in their lifetime. I read somewhere that widows in my age bracket make up .6% of the widow population. So as much as looking at suffering as universal helps me, sometimes I can’t help but feel isolated and picked on.
Audrey continues to amaze me with her ability to remember things about you. In the past two days she showed me a play dough tool you used often, a hair clip that you put in her hair, and how you taught her to color holding two crayons at once. Last night she asked to sleep with one of your T-shirts and I asked her which one and she remembered and requested the Paul Frank one with the cow. She hasn’t seen it in probably five months. I also realized two days ago that although it feels like the worst kind of torture to hear your child say things like “Appa died,” and although the juxtaposition of toddlerhood and mourning is a strange one- the amount of joy she brings me each day is still so much greater than the extra pain. I am grateful to have this little girl running around my apartment giddy and jumping, singing and dancing all day.
It’s already quiet – that pre-holiday quiet when everyone’s busy traveling or finishing up their work to get where they have to go…I have no agenda. Thanksgiving doesn’t feel like it should be a very emotional holiday for me, but this quiet…and maybe just the month that I’m up to- is searing.
I think I’m simply feeling discouraged. But the thing is- there’s such a huge void because you were my encourager. I want to talk to you and tell you how hard it is lately, but I can’t. My thoughts go a little bit more towards the future lately, and I am overwhelmed at my responsibility as a single mother. I grieve the loss of my other child- and worry about Audrey as an only child. The other day I even googled “famous only children” to convince myself that she’d be just fine and try to put a positive spin on it. As I realize how much light her toddlerhood brings me, I flash forward sometimes and worry about our home and our family when she’s thirteen or sixteen. What will we be like? And then sometimes I flash forward to Audrey going off to college, caring for my parents by myself as they age, and even to losing them…and I realize I will be completely alone. It’s too far to jump ahead, and I wish I hadn’t because the thought alone brought me to tears.
Many times throughout today, I’ve cried quietly while Audrey didn’t seem to notice. The last time was just before her bedtime. We were talking about you and I told her, “Appa was mommy’s best friend.” By then she was jumping up and down on the bed crazily while holding my hands, so I don’t think she saw the tears streaming down my face.