It was not a surprise to any of us, and some of us felt a pang of guilty relief that her ordeal was over. She had been impatient for the Lord to take her for the last year or so. She had been growing steadily weaker all during that time, and was having trouble remembering things. She would chastise her daughters for not visiting her, and we would all gently remind her that they were there every single day. One of her grandkids or her son-in-law would sometimes sit in for a bit to give them some down time, but sitting with their mom was pretty much her daughters full time job for the last year of her life. On her good days, she would remember this; on her bad ones she would not.
My wife's feelings are close to the surface, and she does not have the capacity to compartmentalize things. She is also cursed with a surfeit of empathy, so that she had not only her own grief to deal with but her sister's as well, and all the others that loved her mom. That's a lot to deal with, and it has been our life for quite some time. We have been in permanent survival mode; just doing what needs to be done and the hell with the rest. My job was to keep the household afloat, getting groceries, doing laundry, all that stuff that needs to be taken care of. My wife's job was infinitely harder.
Now, we are like two people in a skidding car that has went around a few times, and we can't tell where we are or exactly where we're headed. We used to have a regular life, but seem to have misplaced large chunks of it. I know there must be important stuff that I should be doing, but for the life of me I can't remember what they were. My wife and I have been married twenty-eight years and have had all the Conversations and usually know what the other person thinks about a subject without asking. Not so much any more.
Those moments when we can finish each others sentences has grown disconcertingly small. A little surprise now and then is good for a relationship, but there is so much right now that I get wrong that it bothers me. There will be little flashes of irritation with one another for having to explain what once have been obvious. We will both be a bit different people after this, I suppose; people are always changing. But before this, we were both on the same train: now, we have been on parallel tracks for a while and are a bit of a stranger to each other in the little ways that only we would notice. It's going to be interesting, and you know what the Chinese say about interesting times.
My wife's mom and I had a running joke going for years. She would ask me how that daughter of mine was treating me, and I would tell her she's still mean as a snake. I would pretend that only her and her sister could understand how mean that sweet lady could be. It was preposterous, and we would all have a good laugh. Her last good day, I asked her how she was feeling. "Mean as a snake." was all she said. I want to remember her that way.
Causes David Beemer Supports
Wife works as an advocate for Seniors. Sponser a child through World Vision