So we’re having some work done here at the house. Good work. Nothing wrong. Just taking one more step to make it ours. I’m very much like my Daddy, who, in conversation with his brother-in-law one time, said something about Blackberry Flats finally starting to feel like home.
I was grown y’all. They had been living there at least twenty years.
And we’ve only been here seven.
Slowly but surely, it’s starting to feel a little more comfortable.
Last night I had a dream that the guys didn’t come today. That I didn’t hear from them, wondered what had happened, if they were okay.
And then this morning, I got a phone call.
It was who I guess folks would call my “contractor.”
I prefer dream builder.
I dream it, he makes it happen.
He’s kind of magical like that.
Or at the least very talented.
And when I told him I like things “old-fashioned,” he Wrote. It. Down.
So yes, he called. One of the guys who has been working with him had a death in his family–his uncle. It sort of threw things off on them being able to get much done today, my dream builder explained. So he thought they’d take today to get little things caught up on, and they’d plan on being back here tomorrow.
Oh bless him.
All of them.
His tone was somewhat apologetic.
But it was I who was sorry.
Sorry for this new friend of mine–the artist with the wood and tile and putty–who lost someone he loves.
My heart aches for him and his mother, with whom he is spending time helping her through this right now.
My house was quiet today. No sounds of power tools or good-natured bantering. No doors opening and closing. No barking by Miss Sophie to “warn” me that someone was on the premises. Over and over and over.
Oh, we had school. Math. Ah, well. That is not usually a quiet exercise around here anyway.
But overall it was quiet.
And there was a bit of Fall teasing us today too, if I’m not wishful thinking here.
I am thankful for it.
Every time the oddness of the quiet reminded me of who wasn’t here, it also reminded me of a life lost. Of the sadness in a family’s heart. Of the burden of being the ones left behind that they carry now. Of learning how to live all over again–without this person in their world.
Tonight I give thanks for the quiet. For the opportunity to grieve alongside this family. I think too often we pass over deaths that affect others more and move on, back to our lives and our schedules and what comes next. Or we are altogether oblivious of the loss. We don’t mean to be insensitive or unkind and unfeeling. It’s just what we do. We skim the obituaries with our morning coffee. We pull over to the side of the road when a procession goes by. If we knew them or someone close to them, we plan to go to the visitation between supper and our program at 9 pm on TV. We take leave or a long lunch break to go to the funeral. We pass the folks in the hall a week later and ask them how they are doing. We listen, do the side tilt nod, and pat the person on the shoulder, saying something to the effect of “I’m thinking about you” or “It will get better” or “Call if I can do anything,” not even being able to fathom what that might look like. We try.
But sometimes what those who grieve really need it to look like is life ceasing for a moment or twelve. For the world to pause for a little bit. I remember feeling shocked after my Daddy died that the grocery store was still open. My world had fallen, collapsed around my heart, and the grocery store was OPEN?!? I could still get gas? As bad as my heart felt, with pieces scattered hither and yon, how did this world keep turning? I used to tease my Daddy that I guess the world stopped turning when his glass was empty–and after I got up and poured him some more water or tea, I sat down and slapped my hands together. To start the world back to spinning. It was our joke. But after he left this life? No. There was no way it should still be spinning. Inconceivable. And yet–
So today was a precious and raw and beautiful reminder to me about sitting with others in their grief. In the quiet moments of this day, I thought about this young man whom I barely know, whose personality is delightful and who is a hard worker and a skilled and talented craftsman. I remembered his uncle, whose name I don’t even know. But a candle has been extinguished, and the world is a different place than it was before he died.
Before any of them died.
The world is different.
And sometimes that is what we need most–to have the world acknowledge that the world is different without this person we love so dearly.
And miss so much.
To have the world stop spinning for a moment or two.
I’m thankful for the moments that mine stopped spinning today. It wasn’t of my own choosing, but I give thanks for it. And for the reminder that we all are a part of each other’s story, even if on the periphery. And we can give each other the gift of pausing and pulling over to the side of the road, literally and figuratively, when someone dies. Each one who leaves this world matters. It changes us all.
Love to all.