We have a new washer & dryer. The old dryer had the lint filter at the bottom behind the door, but the new dryer has the lint filter at the top under the controls. We have had the new dryer for more than a month, and I still find myself, after every single load, reaching into the bottom of the dryer to remove the lint.
My husband, for whatever reason (at 3:00 a.m.), decided to move the refrigerator from one end of the kitchen to the other. It’s a small kitchen so distance is not a problem. However, I used to be able to stand at the stove, simply turn halfway around, and then reach into the fridge. I could continue stirring whatever I was cooking on the stove during the entire process. Now, of course, there’s nothing across from the stove but bare wall, and I’m still always slightly surprised to find that whatever item I need for cooking is not immediately accessible by a simple half-turn.
I take the same route to and from work almost every single day, unless there’s an accident or construction. Sometimes on the way home from work, I plan to stop off at a store for groceries or household supplies. I can’t tell you how often I’ve forgotten to make the turn onto the street where the store is located because I’m so used to going straight like I do every other night.
My three daughters are all grown and living on their own, but whenever I know they have gone out for the evening or traveled out of town, I find myself listening for that emergency phone call. Heaven forbid my mother-in-law or someone has the misfortune to call on those occasions!
Our huge, cuddly black German Shepherd dog died nearly a year ago, and I still expect to find him waiting at the door when I arrive home.
And in a similar vein, every time I have either very exciting or very bad news, I find myself reaching for the phone to tell my mother, who died earlier this year. Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.
I’m sure you thought at the beginning that this would be one of those upbeat how-to-kick-the-habit-and-get-on-with-your-life posts. As a matter of fact, I started off with exactly that intention.
But as so often happens, the words I wanted to write became words that wrote themselves.
And I realized how many serious life changes and losses my family and I have experienced over the years, and how hard it has been to adjust to each one.
I used to be one of those just-suck-it-up-and-be-a-man proponents, but now I’m not so sure it’s all that easy. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to adjust to a negative life change, and I’m not saying that a person should wallow in that negativity forever, and I’m not saying that there aren’t people who are simply unwilling or unable to adjust. I’m just saying that now I have a little more patience for people who are going through some form of hardship.
When I was 26 years old, single and childless, I worked at a business where the other employees, both male and female, were all different ages, some older, some younger. I recall a day when an older woman was seen crying in her cubicle, and when asked why she was so upset, she indicated that it was the anniversary of the day her son had been killed in a car accident.
Another employee, who was the same age as me and also single and childless, made the comment:
“Get over it already – it’s been years!”
At that time, I didn’t realize just how cruel that comment was. It was years later, after experiencing losses of my own, that I came to realize that grief has no timeline.
That older woman was an excellent worker who showed up every day, did her job without complaint, and chatted sociably with everyone else in the office. Until that day, I never even knew she had lost a child.
How could anyone NOT think of a lost son on the anniversary of his death? And how could any mother not cry at that moment?
And how can anyone be so cruel as to tell a grieving person to “just get over it already”?
I have lost a number of people who were close to me, and I think of every single one of them on holidays and on their birth dates, if not more often. That doesn’t mean I have stopped my life to grieve 24/7, but certainly I am entitled to pause for a moment in silent memory of those loved ones. And if a tear or two should slide down my cheek during that moment, I think I’m entitled to that, too.
How can I not extend that understanding to others who are grieving?
Perhaps my need to write this today arose because summer has given way to fall, which will soon turn to winter. Perhaps it’s because I’m fast nearing the average life expectancy for women in this country. Or perhaps it’s simply because writing about deceased loved ones makes them feel so much closer.
My dad, my mom, my favorite aunt, my beloved uncle all died before I began this blog. They would all have been so proud of me.
From today forward, each new post will be dedicated to those loved ones – albeit silently.
So, here’s to you, Mom, Dad, Aunt and Uncle, and all my lost friends. May you follow my posts wherever you are …
I love to hear from my readers. You may either comment on this post, or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Images by: mrsdkrebs, and James Wheeler, and Molly Sabourin, and astanita, respectively
Glad tidings of the season make losses stand out more. The older I get, the more of my friends have gone on before me, and time doesn’t make it easier. You don’t “get over it” but you do move forward.
Fall always brings those inward turning thoughts of mortality and loss to the forefront.
I think I need to go eat some pie now. My departed loved ones want me to.
Keep being the bear.
Pie always makes everything better. Especially, if it’s a cream pie! Thanks so much for taking time to read me today – I know you’ve been busy with all those little pandas.
I am so enjoying reading your posts. just one more thing to be thankful for, isn’t it? Still not time for pie yet, here on the left coast, but soon….
Hear, hear. Just brushed away a tear of my own. That was a lovely post.
Pingback: Changes and Losses II: Life’s Sequel (Re-Blog) | Cordelia's Mom, Still
Reblogged this on Cordelia's Mom, Still and commented:
It’s pouring down rain today, and I’m waiting for the bathroom renovations to start. Good day for a re-post, wouldn’t you say?
I loved this piece on so many levels. For one, the way what you needed to write poured out and you let it. Two, grief does not have a timeline. Three, I have never been a just-suck-it-upper and kinda think that’s unhealthy, severity depending. Four, places DO hold memories and I’ve heard from more than a few people that moving helped ease the pains associated with old memories in those old places. In fact, one of them even mentioned the bench by the phone in the kitchen, where she talked to her mother every night. Finally, I prefer the lint trap on the bottom and mine’s on the top, I’m adjusted, but not pleased 😉
This was an insightful, candid post, and I appreciate it.
“the bench by the phone in the kitchen, where she talked to her mother every night” – that phrase made me choke up. Now I’ll need to share the story of my mother’s piano …
LikeLiked by 1 person
Whoa tears are in my eyes. Seriously. Loosing those we Love changes our lives and it changes us as well. For those who say “Get on with life” … well, I have a thing or two to say. Yes we all somehow (hopefully) get on with life but there are times when those we Loved will be on our minds and that’s OK. As for those habits …. OH do I know what you are talking about! We get so caught up in doing something a certain way we don’t even realize we are on automatic. Change is hard. Any kind of change is. There are still some days, CM, that I can honestly say I don’t know how I will get over this huge hole in my Heart. Yet there are some days that I do. Great post!! 💞
I know you understand, Amy. We always remember those we have lost.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes we do! 💞
Thank you so much for this lovely reminder, my friend CM, of how we remember what we love on our own timelines.
I’ll be you thought of our departed friend, Paul, when you read the post. I know I thought of him when I republished it.
I think of Paul every weekend when I don’t receive his email with his guest story to put up on my blog that week, CM. I miss his wisdom and humor so much.
LikeLiked by 1 person