It’s one of those thing I knew from reading, not from personal experience. Grief is like an old shoe left on the floor to randomly trip over. I told this to my niece when her husband went on down the road too young and too soon. I told her she’d keep finding things to grieve over long after the initial pain was gone.
I started to understand this on a personal level after my husband left – he walked out the door instead of dying, but there was still a shoe left on the floor. Or in the closet, the box of Christmas decorations, the sound of Gentlemen, start your engines.
But I still didn’t *get* it. Not until now, this day, 18 hours shy of seven weeks down another road. I knew the Tupperware container would be hard. I didn’t know it would be this hard.
I miss my mom.
The other grief is different – the knowledge of just how much he took from me when he left has always been tempered with my bone deep gratitude that he’s gone. I tripped over memories, I cried at what was lost – but none of it ever made me think I wish he was here again. I wish I could share this moment with him. I never feel sad when I fix food he would love to eat – only savagely glad that I don’t have to share it with him.
I’m writing this to put off making mashed potatoes. The Tupperware bowl sits in the refrigerator, full of stock waiting to become gravy, waiting to be emptied so I can fill it with the food she loved. Her last few months it was damn near all she’d eat, illness and age robbing her of the joy of food, the healthy teeth to eat it with.
Taters and gravy, my eternal comfort food, and that’s what I want now, as I sit alone and wonder how I’m going to take care of things feeling as exhausted as I do. The blood work is no surprise, only a solid clue as to why I’m always so fucking tired. Taters and gravy and right now it’s the only thing I want to eat but the idea of making them is exhausting. The idea of how much I’ll cry doing it only doubles down on this garbage hand I’m holding.
Knowing I was making them for her would give me the energy to just do it. I had to take care of her, yes? Had to fix the one food I knew she’d eat because someone as thin as she couldn’t afford to skip meals.
The sound of the cat – who is also dying – coming down the hall is bad enough that I’ve assumed it would be the worst. It sounds so much like Anna Catherine’s little slippered feet coming down the hall, bringing her to me to talk, to ask me if I’ve heard the day’s hot garbage news, to tell me what my sister said during their twice daily phone calls.
No. It’s the funky eyesore of a late 70’s/early 80’s Tupperware container, the one that always held the massive serving of mashed potatoes that would feed her for a week. It was often too heavy for her to lift from the shelf but she could open it, could use her mangled hands well enough to serve herself, do as much for herself as she was able. I never knew what she hated more, not being able to do simple things like cook for herself or relying on her chronically ill daughter to take care of her.
I’m better off that he’s gone. She’s better off being gone. I don’t know how I ever thought the two things could be the same.