Friday, November 1, 2013

Two Weeks Later, Love Remains

   This is gonna be an unusual blog post. Please forgive me if it's even more rambly than normal. I want to organize my thoughts and relay them poetically, with some meaning or message, but all I can muster right now are observations and a few cell phone photos.

All you need is love! And treats. Chunk-hi agrees. 

   The last two weeks since losing Handsome's Mom have in many ways been unlike any others in my life. Daily, hourly, by the moment, life has been unpredictable and volatile. On the other hand, some beautiful, familiar ribbons of love and stability have carried us from day to day. While we are once again broken in many places, the most important things between us have not changed, they have only strengthened. For this I am so grateful.

   The shock is just beginning to really fade. In its place I am seeing pain, confusion, loneliness, and much more. A flash of anger here and there. Judy was so much to so many people, that she is leaving a void no one person can fill. And she is gone far sooner than anyone was prepared to let her go.

   This is a time everyone relies on God to fill the gaps in our hearts, and He does, if we wait. We all try to be of service to each other, to be used in any way He asks. Preparing meals, cleaning, laundering, driving, listening, praying, organizing, repairing... Anything. But the grief is so ongoing, so revealing of a love that is deep and forever, that no tasks we perform from day to day really feel like enough. So we just keep trying.


   Handsome's sweet Dad, Harvey, is staying with us at the farm for as long as possible. I hope to share lots of his stories as time passes. He is wonderful, and many days I feel like I love him as much I love his son. We really appreciate having him here, and I only hope the togetherness is as good for him as it is for my husband. The farm had been filled with dozens of other beloved visitors day in and day out for the past two weeks, so now the three of us will begin to discover a new daily routine. I know already that everything will be different. That's okay.

   God is so good. I don't have to look too hard to find hidden blessings, special skinny little silver linings that take the edge off the pain, but I also feel incredibly guilty enjoying those gifts. The circumstances under which they have been sent are so hard, and most times as daughter-in-law I feel like on onlooker, sometimes even an intruder into a dark, terrible, intimate family room. I loved Judy very much and admired her perhaps more than I ever realized, but my grief is completely different from everyone else's. That's probably normal, I don't know.

Marci, thank you for this rare photo.

   The Tiny T love story will continue. I don't feel like writing it exactly, but last week I was really surprised to learn that my in-laws had been reading the series together and had even started making guesses about what kind of woman T would end up with. So, especially because I love my father-in-law so much, T will return pretty soon. I missed the 31 day challenge again, but the love story will keep going for as long as it needs to.

   The farm is torn between cold and balmy, between new life and a deep, chilling slumber. Several of us noticed with lots of wonder that the forests were all lush green until the day after the funeral. Now every branch is bearing as much gold, crimson, and russet as green. Still, though, the apple trees have been blooming again, like it's spring time. The herbs are still growing like it's June, except for the tell tale seed spikes begging to be collected. And we harvest peppers and tomatoes, day after day. Kind of amazing.

Apple blooms in autumn?

   The horses have already found their thick, fuzzy winter coats. Chanta is so silky right now, so tempting. When I need to cry I go to the middle field and lay across him, combing my fingers deep through the gold and white hair all over his big belly, and he wraps his neck over me.

   Today my baby brother and I will be preparing a fortieth wedding anniversary celebration for our parents. It's a wonderful occasion, and I'm so excited, but of course it's bittersweet. Judy passed away just hours before we were to celebrate forty years for her and Harvey. See? Life is so wildly extreme. So all over the place. We must be limber and strong.

   As I finish writing this, the late morning sun is streaming passionately through the big east window. Mammoth plants and flowers from the funeral are everywhere, gilded now and illuminated by the fresh new day. Really pretty and really sad. Just like every other detail lately. The living room is absolutely pulsing with color and light, and I have no idea what to do about that.

   Thanks so much for all of your kind words, for all of your prayers. Every single speck has been relayed to the family.

   There is much more to say. I don't know when I will write again, or about what, but for us life goes on. Love is steady and reliable, stronger than ever. There are dishes to rinse. Beds to be made smooth and comfortable. Animals to feed. Aprons to sew. There is plenty to do. And once again, for this I am so grateful.

Work is love made visible.
~Khalil Gibran


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