Rose is sick and cuddled up in my bed with a cold. Patrick is frying up some hashbrowns for us. Home-grown organic potatoes from the farm with Redmonds Real Salt. Our favorite comfort food. We tell him it is too bad to be cursed by being the hashbrown king. No one fries up hashbrowns as well as Patrick. Crispy. Tender in the middle. Perfectly salted. He only hesitated a minute when Rose and I pleaded from our comfortable spot on the bed, the two of us with books and him on the computer.
Is there anything better than a fried, crispy homegrown potato?
We need some comfort food because we have been having a pretty hard grief week. All the literature, the grief counselor, our friends who have walked this journey before us, have told us that each season brings new waves of pain. Funny the things that trigger the pain.
For me, cleaning out the old homeschool curriculums was about more than I could take. Wow. I had no idea it would stir up so many things. I found old card Philip had written to me. Thought about how he would never write me another birthday or anniversary card. Found old stories and nature journal entries written by the kids over the years. Thought about how our life has changed and we won't be doing nature journals like we used to. Set up the bakery ingredient shelves. Worked on business strategy. Got tired. Thought about how I don't have another grownup in the picture to help share the financial burdens of the family anymore.
So many different things to grieve.
I didn't want to write about it in the middle of the hard stuff because it was too painful. But now that I am a couple of days out, it is a little easier, and I decided that for those other grievers out there (or future grievers, as we all have to grieve at some point or another), I would share a bit about grieving on the farm this week.
I cried pretty darn hard. There were days that I wailed. Sobbed. Moaned and groaned and threw up my hands to God. There were moments all I could do was say "Jesus." It hurt.
I was a bit taken aback and surprised that we had such a raw week of pain. The kids felt it too. We all occasionally felt mean, cranky, out of sorts, and mostly miserable. Because I had gone through most of my pain while here at the house alone, when I saw it surface in the kids, somehow it was recognizable. There were moments when I would take a child in the lap, hold her and let her weep, because she was so sad. All I did was rock and cry and say I miss him too.
Other moments I scolded and fussed.
It was hard.
One child told me he was cleaning his room and found an old birthday card that Dad had written him. It made him depressed and pain-filled for days.
The season has changed and we are experiencing a new era without Philip. The leaves are blowing away, the wind has returned, the cold is here and Philip isn't. All is new. We are having to figure out how to navigate life in our world in a new way.
It is hard.
The bread still has to be baked. The bills still have to be paid. Ingredients have to be ordered. Chickens have to be fed. Buses have be be caught. Homework done. Meals have to be made.
We walk onward. We read stories. We live. But it is occasionally very hard. Especially when six living people have to bump into each other's grief on a daily basis.
I thank God for our dear friends who do not grow tired of us. Who contine to lovingly support us and to listen and to help and to bear with. One might think that at this point we would be healed. We are doing well. We are surviving and thriving and working and healing. But not yet healed.
You know the awakeness I mentioned the other day? Another level of grief anesthesia has worn off and with that a new level of pain. I am feeling MUCH better today, but that feeling better has come after buckets and HOURS of tears.
Feeling is hard work.
I don't even know why I am sharing all this stuff, except for the fact that there are grieving people who read this blog who see all the stuff we do on the farm and might mistakenly get the idea that there is a way to get through grief without ending up a puddle on the floor wailing occasionally. We thank God for the capacity to keep moving, but I must acknowledge that we are sometimes moving while weeping and wailing. And sometimes we aren't moving, but are sitting in a puddle in the middle of the floor.
All that said, there are moments of extreme joy these days. And pleasure. And gratitude. We do smile. And enjoy amazing miracles. Like hashbrowns made from our potatoes. From potatoes grown on the farm during a time when we really shouldn't have had the wherewithal to even plant potatoes. But miraculously we did. And somehow got them harvested. And cooked.
The main reason I wanted to post tonight is to mention the amazing sight out my window this evening. Just as the sun set, I looked out to the east and saw the most beautiful gift. A pink wash spread over the ridge, the fields, the garden. It reminded me of one of my favorite paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I can't tell you the artist or the name of the painting, but it is a small one. Tiny, compared to the huge masterpieces. It is harvest time, and I bet you a dollar it was painted in late October. The fields and the harvested hay are green and brown and golden and orange and a pink wash spreads over everything.
And for a moment this evening, I felt an intimate connection with that artist, long dead, and felt washed in beauty. And felt that even after all the tears and pain of my own grief, and my dear precious children, there is joy. And life. And goodness.
But now, I better go finish those hashbrowns. And enjoy a movie with the kids. Goodnight.