Things are a little weird right now, at least inside my head, mainly because of the old grief houseguest. And yet, here I am bravely sallying forth, even when that means occasionally doing things like going back to bed on a Wednesday morning after driving Charlie to school in the rain. Which I did yesterday, and which I do not regret one whit. It was fine, because then I got up and did all manner of email/teaching correspondence and updating of lesson plans. And laundry.
Anyway, the bottom line is, grief is back. She’s a withered old woman in tattered babushka garb who silently appears, sitting on my couch and doing nothing other than lending an air of quiet, heavy sadness to my surroundings. It’s not her fault. She’s not even real. She is merely a projection.
She’s an embodiment of the nebulous feelings wafting into my life with greater frequency in the last 8 months, first with Jack’s move to residential care and then the recent death of my father. The emotions of which she is comprised are loss, separation, altered hopes, heavy acceptance, adjusted life plans, a growing awareness of life’s fragility, and constant change.
This very, very serious list doesn’t mean I’m not coping, or moving forward, or being grateful, or feeling peaceful. I am doing and feeling all of these things, much of the time.
And yet, grief holds in her gnarled, arthritic hands both peace and sadness, gratitude and sorrow, hope and weariness. Maybe she has a basket to help her carry all of it, the contradictions and the enormity of emotions.
I don’t have a basket, and I don’t want one, because it’s all too much for me to carry around.
“Cast thy burden on the Lord, and trust his constant care,” says the hymn.
I am doing this. I am accepting all the things I’m asked to experience. I’m asking Jesus to bear the burden with me, so I can get up and do the things I need to do.
And he does, so I can.
I realized today as I drove to the university to teach my classes that through both of these processes (Jack’s care and my dad’s passing), the central emotion I have experienced is buoyancy. Is that weird? I feel lifted. I don’t feel low, at least not most of the time.
I feel like I am being raised up. I feel buoyant. Not because I myself am inherently buoyant, but in the sense that I am holding tightly to something that keeps me afloat.
By which, I mean Jesus of course.