There was no moment of waking up with even a dream of normalcy for me today. No sweet second of restful sleep. Just miserable tossing and turning.
It felt right to make coffee and work on kitchen cleanup. Made bottle for Dot and fed her hungry self. Milked Coco in snow flurries. Dot woke up ready to drink her breakfast. Listened to a couple of my favorite songs on iTunes and groaned.
Ate a teeny muffin. Ate a piece of bacon. Switched from coffee to herbal tea. Listened to Andrew Peterson and cleaned my office. Knelt in the middle of the hallway and raised my hands up to praise God with my chest crushing in. Pretended that nobody was around and mourned as I threw out old junk mail and broken things that Philip won't be fixing.
He fixed everything.
Our new dishwasher broke, so he found an old dishwasher to use for parts to fix the new one. It worked for awhile and then played out. So he put the old dishwasher he acquired for parts in to use and found parts to fix it. He fixed our Suburban, our toilets, our chimneys, our faucets. Some people might wonder why people on farms sometimes have old junk around. He used the old junk for parts so he didn't have to buy a bunch of expensive new stuff.
It was a lifestyle choice.
He figured he could fix the old phone that quit working, so we pulled it aside and he got another used one at the Habitat Store in the meantime. As I threw the broken phone in the garbage I felt such deep pain I couldn't breathe.
As the wave of pain crashed upon me I had a fleeting thought of how similar natural childbirth is to the grief I feel. Except the pain of childbirth was boom, boom, boom, so intense for a few minutes, I did think for a bit that I couldn't go on indefinitely. As we neared the end, I kneeled by the bed, stretched my back and released the pain with guttural cries that were scary and fierce. Previous births I didn't feel safe enough to let out that release. It is embarrassing and humiliating to let others see the raw parts. But for some reason, that last home birth was amazing. The deep core groans and utterances didn't take away the pain, but they made me able to pour it out.
When the waves crash upon me I have been trying to release the pain. It doesn't make it go away, but I am bearing it. I am thankful to have had enough space to be able to do that. I think this process is going to take a lot longer than childbirth.
How can he be gone?
Cynthia came and cut more hair and fixed me up. More dear friends arrived. More wood arrived.
We shared stories, ate a piece of cheese, drank more herbal tea instead of the coffee and headed to the church.
The viewing was this afternoon.
Many people greeted us. I was so proud of my handsome young men and young ladies, bearing themselves with dignity and grace.
I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and generosity. We are cared for.
Grilled cheese sandwich made with someone else's amazing spelt bread nourished me. Cousin Judith's dear hands comforted me. Kids are exhausted. So am I.
I guess it really is real that Philip is gone. But as we drove home from the church I wanted to tell him so many funny stories. As we said goodbye to people tonight I caught myself turning to find his face behind me, to head upstairs and compare notes.
A friend, Vasil, suggested that I start to write Philip letters. I don't know if I can do that yet, but maybe I will talk to him in bed tonight. I think that is very good advice. Tomorrow I have to head to the cemetery early to pick out a site. So many things to do. A whirlwind. Could we hit the pause button?
BTW, we asked a friend to take care of Dot. She wasn't doing well by early afternoon. Needed to put her in someone else's hands. At some point I told the little thing that I think I am feeling just like her. Weak. Needy. I don't know if she will live. I am doubtful. But I think we will make it. We have a very good shepherd taking care of us. He has many many hands and feet and they bless me. But for now, I am going to let my good Shepherd tuck me in and trust that he will lead me beside the still waters and get me through this valley of death.