Yesterday would have been my and Himself’s 32nd anniversary. It was #3’s 27th birthday, and also his and The Fine Wife’s 4th anniversary. July 26th was a pretty eventful day in our family. When I wished #3 happy birthday, he was kind of unimpressed by it…probably because he’d just come from an entire day of physical therapy and was exhausted. He was, as is typical these days, amazed that The Fine Wife married him and had their baby. “We MADE HIM!” he said of Grandpunkin. “HE CAME FROM US! HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN?!” (oh boy, does this mean I have to have The Talk with him again?)
As expected, Himself was on my mind a lot yesterday. Life frustrated him, and I am happy for him that now he’s in Heaven, and since there’s an eternity of time there, he can relax and spend time perfecting the things he didn’t have time to work on here. He loved woodworking, making things, and was good at it, but due to work, didn’t have time to do it the way he wanted. So now I imagine him there, with all the time there is, carefully teaching himself (or maybe he’s working with other woodworkers who’ve gone before him) fancy joinery techniques with all the wood he couldn’t bring himself to spend the money on…birdseye maple and curly walnut and the like. It gives me great emotional satisfaction to know he’s no longer frustrated. I have a tremendous amount of peace from that.
#3 is learning life all over again. He has 2 things he says now. “It’s real.” and “Absolutely!” When someone is honest with him, or shows him kindness and patience, or love, that person is Real. “Mom, the physical therapist is Real.” He has some trouble with words still, but is getting there. It’s worse when he’s tired, but almost non-existent when he’s fresh and rested. He told me he went to a club, and there were a lot of people there and they did a lot of singing and someone got up and talked a bunch about God. He talked with someone afterwards about God for a little bit. “Mom, God is real. He does a lot of things for me I didn’t even know about. He’s Real.” The doctors are Real, as are his physical therapists and Dr. B…the veterinarian he worked for several years ago. He also says “Absolutely!” when I say things like “it’s going to be tough for a bit but you’re strong and smart and can do this.” or “Your wife loves you very much” or “Grandpunkin is your son!” He gets frustrated sometimes…ok…a lot. Who wouldn’t? He wants to be working. We all tell him his job right now is to get better. Absolutely! He hates what his body is doing right now. A month ago his body didn’t work at all, look how far he’s come! Absolutely! At this rate, he’ll be able to go back to work sooner than anyone ever expected! (especially since The People Who Know Things said he’d never get out of bed or be able to talk) Absolutely! His brothers are Real…they keep in touch with him, come visit when they can, harass him in that way only brothers can. “Mom, my brother came to visit. He’s Real. They are all Real. I talk to them on the phone.” Well, you’re their brother and they love you. Absolutely!
He’s talked about Himself a little bit. He doesn’t remember him dying but he knows he did. He still has the memories of him prior to January 2015. I am thankful he didn’t lose any of those.
July 26 used to be one of my favorite days. Now it’s more bittersweet than anything. My sorrow at losing Himself has smoothed out and been replaced with joy for him (which was always there, but sad for myself, I guess). Especially now The Fella is in the picture. Himself hasn’t been replaced…that’s the thing about losing a spouse like this. When someone new comes along, the past hasn’t been replaced, but instead the heart is expanded to allow for the new person. Widowhood is like that. Love doesn’t end when the person dies, but the heart grows and allows for the next person, the next chapter to come along and be written. #3’s story is much different from what he’d planned. So is mine. So is The Fella’s, and those of my other sons. What’s that saying…”If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans” If I’ve learned anything over the last 3-1/2 years, it’s that there’s nothing wrong with having plans, but be flexible because they will change.
Now? Well, now the trajectory of our lives made a sudden turn that was hidden on the back side of a hill and around a bend. Now, The Fella and I are embarking on a new journey together. #3 and his people are in a completely different dynamic and the work they do has changed entirely. #’s 1,2, and 4 are changing directions. Thankfully, God knows what He’s doing even when we don’t. And we can rest in that. Absolutely.