We understand death for the first time
when he puts his hand upon one whom we love. Madame de Stael
I can’t sleep. It’s 4am and I can’t stop listing in my head all that I need to do so I’m up. All is quiet in my home, the coffee machine whispers, breaking the silence as I reach down to pet each of our cats who bring me so much joy and comfort. I need to get so much done this morning…bills to pay for my family, bills for my parents, emails to write, a funeral to coordinate, my own business to run, my Dad’s business to run ~ funeral outfits for everyone ~ my head spins with all that I need to do.
So I do what I was ‘trained’ to do…I soldier on. Being the daughter of a Navy man, I was trained (his vocabulary ~ certainly not the word I would choose for myself) from age 11 to work in my Dad’s office and to take care of things. It is where I am most comfortable and I guess it’s how I am dealing with the grief that at times simply overwhelms me. My friend KAngel remarked that we all grieve in different ways and I can see that clearly now. My Mom and AAngel are grieving differently as well. We are all incubated in our grieving and yet connected. I hope we don’t lose that connection even though I see that it is tenuous as times.
I am grateful for my Dad’s insistence that I learn how to do what needs to be done without fanfare…I feel like it’s my contribution to my family to make things easier at this time. It’s my way of grieving because I need to get done what needs to be done now. It’s like a race for me and I know me…I am like my Dad, the Energizer Bunny…I’ll keep going and going until I fall apart and pass the torch of work onto whomever picks it up. I need to do this now before I’m not able to help.
Thinking back, it’s how I deal with many aspects of my life ~ I just keep going ~ baby steps forward. With the cancer and surgeries that I’ve endured, I just keep going ~ stopping occasionally to stomp my foot in sadness and a flood of “why me?” before picking myself back up to keep going for myself, my family and with the inner need to soldier on.
Before this, I don’t think I really ‘got’ what the death of a loved one means ~ and I’m still not quite sure that I do as I think this is going to be a process ~ yet again, Dad is training me from beyond. I’m on autopilot nowadays, but in the quiet of the mornings, all alone, I allow myself the indulgence of communicating with him. Right now, I can trick my mind into thinking he’s on vacation as I play worker bee in his office. It’s easy because I’ve done it before ~ but this morning, I can feel his love around me. I can remember how he looked when he passed and I know that the outer shell of that man is gone forever, but his spirit is still alive and kicking all around me.
And for that, this lil’ soldier is so grateful.