Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Coffee Date: The Thing About Grief

There used to be a few blogs that I followed that regularly did Coffee Date posts or whatnot and I've been wanting to do one forever but never really finished or scrapped it because I didn't have anything to talk about *LOL*  Actually, if I look back, I think I was able to do one or two during mat leave? 
Aaaanywho.  If we were having coffee today, I would probably have burst into our meeting place frenzied and late.  Not for any special reason, but just because I've been waking up about 15 - 20 minutes before it's time for me to leave and not leaving myself any time to do anything other than splash water on my face and brush my teeth and go. #worldsokayestadult

I would tell you that, even though you probably already know or could have guessed, this past week has felt pretty long and draining.  Different from the usual long and draining weeks due to work deadlines and drama, every day parenting and other life-in-general things.  But from having regular life interrupted due to a life interrupted.  
We would probably take a break for a second when the server comes up to take our orders and I would order a giant iced coffee without cutting out the sugar because I'm currently being bad with my food choices and I'm convinced that I won't make it through the afternoon without it (even though later on after midnight I'll be wide awake and regretting it.)
I would resume the conversation by letting you know that around 2 am, Bart came home from a night-shift last Wednesday and woke me up to tell me that he had just found out that his dad passed away.  Not at all what I was expecting him to tell me when he gently shook me and told me he had bad news since the bad news that he usually comes home to tell me are things like him being sent two hours out of town for work or him being asked to work the entire weekend, etc.  That seems like a long sentence.  Since I just acknowledged it, I'll just leave it as is instead of trying to figure out where to break it up.
You would probably ask what happened and I'd tell you a bunch of different things that probably don't make sense because I'm jumping all over the place.  It's funny how it seems - perhaps with just this particular situation, how much of a contradiction it all is at times.  It was suddenly, but not really.  A surprise, but not really.  Unexpected, but not really.  I guess those last two or sort of the same.  How life stops but has to keep on going.

I would tell you in the days that followed that there was a lot of things to get done and so many people to talk to - many of which my husband and/or his mama hadn't spoken to in a while.  I would tell you how we were talking to my one nephew who hasn't experienced a death of any sort, let alone in his family, and he was saying how nervous he was about going to the viewing because he didn't know how to act or what to say or what to do. And I would tell you how my husband reassured him by telling him that it was okay because nobody knows how to act, what to say or what to do in this situation.  The point is just to be present, I guess.  
After the arrangements were made, there wasn't really much more to do other than wait.  The church was unavailable the next few days so the service got pushed back a day and it was just another day in limbo so to speak.  An extra couple of days to make any other arrangements or take care of any loose ends in the service, but otherwise, not much else to do. 
I would tell you that once I had heard about what happened, I cleared our schedule for the weekend immediately because I anticipated there would be much to do.  But in reality, once everything was scheduled, it was also too much to not have anything to do.  I would tell you that Bart insisted that we try to just keep going with whatever we had planned if it was reasonable to do so.  So on Saturday, we went to my nieces First Communion and watched as she continued on her own little path of faith.  We watched proudly as she stood up to do one of the readings and how excited she was to finally be able to go and line up at communion to fully participate in the mass.

We invited Bart's mama to come with us and I think she appreciated the company and the distraction.  After the reception, we also went to watch my other niece perform in her dance competition.  I would mention to you how there's just something so...comforting?  Uplifting? Reassuring? about watching young people LIVE.  I think it was also in some way a good reminder that Tom got to live too.  I would reaffirm this by tying it back to all the photos we looked over the last few days when preparing Tom's slideshow.  There were so many photos of his life throughout the years.  I think Bart got to see that his dad got to live a long life and that it was filled with a lot of the things he loved.

I would also mention that of course I know that his life and his life with his family probably wasn't all sunshine and roses and I'm sure they all have their own stories and versions of life over the years, but I hope that all the good memories outweigh anything else.

I would "wrap up" the sad part about this coffee date and mention how much of a joy and a blessing Ava was throughout all of this.  Being as young as she is, she didn't really comprehend what was going on and continued to live her two-year old life the way she saw fit.  She "helped" go through photos of Grampy and totally chose a photo of him holding a giant crab to fixate on.  If you asked her about Grampy, she would tell you that "Grampy has a giant crab in heaven."  During the viewing, she was a regular by her Grampy, climbing up onto the kneeler to chat away at him and occasionally turning to whomever was in the room to shush them to be quiet because "Grampy is sleeping" because "he's so tired."  Also making Grammy laugh when she admiringly patted the silk lining of his resting place and solemnly declared that "Grampy has a nice bed!"
I would mention that of course after this, and perhaps other people do this as well after a time like this, that Bart and I are left contemplating our mortality and how fast life can feel like it's moving.  I think we are coming away with a renewed commitment to our family and dedicating time to spending with each other making memories like Grampy did.  
I would realized how much I've been hogging the conversation during our coffee date and feel instantly contrite but also sincerely thank you so much for listening.  As with life, our conversation will now naturally continue away from this sad portion and explore other areas.  I ask how you've been and settle in with my contraband iced coffee and enjoy my time with you.
What would you tell me?

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