I have reasoned that one of the aspects that makes this journey so hard, and perhaps this is obvious, is that from the very first moment, everything one must “do” goes against what one wishes to do. One must make phone calls and tell others the “news.” One must choose a suit, socks, and underwear. One must order the service and visit possible locations for the burial. One must walk down the aisle and view. One must cry in public receiving the cries and sympathies of others. One must keen alone in showers and in darkness.
And then, when the initial list of things you don’t wish to do is done, a new list begins. One must notify the world in its paperwork and procedures of the non-existence of the beloved. Cancel bank accounts, scan and email official death certificates to insurance companies and the local DMV. Each phone call pushes one further into a world where one doesn’t wish to exist. Each task on the to-do list is another step down that long aisle to the waiting casket, another flower dropped on the silent, open grave.
There are the firsts one doesn’t wish to celebrate without the beloved, but must. There is the first Christmas and the first vacation without. Birthdays, anniversaries, snowfalls and spring. None of these are welcome or wished for. They must be done. Every step, every action, drags with the weight of the soul’s refusal and the world’s insistence.
It takes all of one’s physical and mental strength to do things against one’s will each day over and over again. And this goes on for quite some time.
And then, in moments, very small ones, in order to survive, one must find at least one thing, one does wish to do. Like laugh with your child, or take a walk, a bubble bath, or go to sleep early under a new white quilt. These actions then, are like trading the weight and dangling legs of a three year old on your hip with that of a newborn in your arms. Soft, light, and holy.