14 May 2007

Small graces

I am the kind of tired you don't get. I am the kind of tired that gets you. Every little thing is impossible to decide. Every action is like swimming through melted glass.

I am afraid to go out because of the unpredictable rains of tears. Last night it was the grocery store cookie aisle. Pepperidge Farm Ginger Man cookies. My sister loved those things. I cried a little and bought some in her honor.

Then the dreaded question: "How are you?" Not from people you know. From strangers. I lie pretty good, mostly. "Good, thanks." It feels like the most monstrous lie and I can barely squeeze it out.

Sometimes they say something "You look so tired." "Do you have the flu?" Then I balance on the verge of tears, trying not to say it. Because "My sister just died," is a huge hand grenade to drop in the middle of a conversation with a stranger and they really don't deserve it. On the other hand, by then I am beginning to get blotchy and to dissolve into tears and they already know they have stepped in it...

Yesterday at the coffee place I was buying beans and the girl asked "How are you?" and I said "That is a question my attorney has advised me not to answer." A joke but she could tell something wasn't right. Later she said "Well, I hope the rest of your day gets better" and all of a sudden I breathed in and it turned out to be this horrible ragged gasp that shocked us both.

That kind of stuff.

Everyone has been tremendous. Friends, family, church.

Goldie is especially concerned for me and climbs up on the bed to snuggle me and leans against my leg the rest of the time. Dogs know.

On the plane back from Chicago, I got such a funny blessing. There was a lady in the window seat who didn't speak English. Me in the aisle seat, no one in between. I was worried about how I was going to keep from crying for 4 hours. Before we took off, the window lady made a phone call and started crying. I gave her some tissue. I started crying. We smiled weakly at each other. I put the tissue package of the seat between us and we cried whenever we needed to throughout the flight. Row 31, the row of unspoken misery where it is ok to cry. It was such a relief to have that freedom.

Small graces, strung together moment by moment, lead us forward through days of sorrow.

Thanks again for all your kind words and thoughts.


jennster said...

oh wow.. some things just happen- and you're placed in the right seat with the right person, where it's all okay.
i am so sorry for your loss and the fact that you have to live the rest of your waking life without her in it. i can only imagine the pain. but i can also only imagine the amount of amazing memories and thoughts you have of and with her. and the fact that you still have a kick ass borther in law and a nephew to dote on.

poor timing? i hope not, but a friend died in a car accident and she had a 2 year old son- all her friends got together and made a book of memories about her, to give to her son so he could see and remember how amazing his mom was.... i always thought that was a great idea.

byjane said...


I'm so sorry about your sister. Jennster has said all that I would in her first paragraph. I hope you just let yourself cry and yell and whisper whenever you feel like it. The world is a different place for your now, and there's no denying it.

Maggie said...

I am not a religous person. Gardening is where I get my spiritual feelings. And today, I was working in my garden and I thought of you and I felt myself say a little inner prayer. I don't know if that makes any sense but it was like a feeling of good being sent out to you.

super des said...

I remember when my grandpa died. My stepmom and I hung together and were (relatively) fine until someone would ask that question. Then we'd be two uncontrolled hysterical women and the asker immediately regretted it.

While it's so hard for you now to know she is no longer in your life, you know that it is easier than always wondering if she was going to get better or keep being ill.

another hug.

QT said...

You have permission to be shaky, tired, and sob at will. Those things are all ok right now. And yes, what a wonderful relief to be seated in that row on your way home! Holding in something like this is not good for you - even for a few hours.

You are in my thoughts.

dana said...

suebob, I barely know you and I've only been reading you for a short time -- it just happened to be around the time your sister got sick.

There are no words I can think to say that will make you feel better, or help you through this painful time. I won't even try to say that I know what you're going through, because we all deal with the loss of loved ones differently.

I'd like to emulate my amazing mom in times like this, and offer prayers or warm thoughts, but I sometimes think that's the last thing a person wants to hear.

so, I'm just going to be here. to let you know I admire your strength even when you may feel weak. to let you know I am honored to have found your blog and feel what you write.

there is no cookie cutter answer for this....

I'm so sorry to hear of your sister's passing but I do know she's with you in spirit.

be well and i'm thinking of you and yours.

Stephanie A. said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Right now I am grieving my grandfather and it is tough. Surely a sister, especially one with such impeccable taste in cookies, is devastating beyond belief. Take good care of yourself and as you learned from your fellow passenger, so many of us truly are flying through life, crying (on the inside or out) about those we lose. HUGS.

Lisa said...

OH Suebob. I am so very, very, very sorry.

My heart breaks for you. You and your sister have been in my thoughts/prayers alot lately. I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

maybe she was an angel.

it has always seemed weird to me that life goes on in the world when a loved one dies..........maybe that was Gods way of easing the transition to the real world for you.


Alison said...

I've been thinking of you on and off as I've gone about my work day today & have been saying small prayers for you over the past few weeks as I've read your posts. It feels kind of intrusive to say that - but wanted to add that I'm one of the many holding you in my thoughts. The image of you and the stranger on the plane is so poignant. It gave me the chills.

MsLittlePea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MsLittlePea said...

I cried all the way home on the plane to AND from my Grandpa's funeral and there was a really kind lady in the bathroom at the airport who gave me a hug and said I would be ok. Sometimes we get just what we need from total strangers. Again I am so so so sorry and I wish you comfort and peace in your heart.

Nancy said...

It's completely inadequate to say this, because words cant possibly make up for what you are going through -- but I am so, so sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Please let me know if there is anything at all I can do. Sending tissues and Pepperidge Farm Ginger Man cookies is not out of the question.


mdog said...

i love the row 31 thing. God is funny and weird and perfect.


Alex Elliot said...

I am so sorry. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

Chase said...

What a touching post!

The story of the lady on the plane was beautiful...I'm glad you both got to share your tears without judgment.

Piece of Work said...

I'm sorry, suebob. I'm thinking of you, and I hope it does some good because I can't think of anything else that will.

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