Things are not really getting any easier. At least not overall they are not. The kids and I all have a periods of time, usually the span of several hours, that are fairly smooth. During those periods we can get tasks done, or talk with people, or simply function in a close to clear headed way. But then the fog comes crashing back down and we are left more stunned than ever.
It is the menial, everyday, simple tasks that seem to get us. Washing dishes and doing laundry are ginormous tasks now, not just simple things that just need to get done. Truly mountains of dishes and clothes build up before we take the piles down a few notches. It would be so much smarter to do them all along. But functioning “smarter” just isn’t possible right now. And the inability to perform things that were once just part of a daily routine is so very frustrating and exhausting right now.
As I write this though I am realizing that the menial tasks become monumental because the monumental feelings are more a part of our daily “routine” than anything else right now. The monumental feelings of loss are not fading away. In fact, that all is deepening and broadening and weaving its threads into everything. Which, in turn, makes everything feel monumental and daunting.
This past week we celebrated Kateri’s 18th birthday. She had several groupings of folks – friends, family, barn community – that reached out to her and did something special with her. All of these celebratings were good times for her. And in those times, in those moments, she and the rest of us were “okay”. But it was in the moments of not being surrounded by folks that the crashes came in for all of us. The recognizing in the moment, then processing afterwards, that Russell wasn’t there was devastating. Just mind and body crushing.
The menial tasks of a daily routine became almost impossible as the feelings of loss and confusion washed over us all. Which then makes being around anyone but each other very hard. Curling up together is about all we want to do when the grief washes over. It’s just too hard to be around others. We want to be around others for the positive energy, the distraction, the connection. But being around others and not being able to talk or function is hard, just so very hard.
Watching Kateri walk through her birthday celebrating with moments of joy and all of it with grace; witnessing Soren have his prom night blow up into a million pieces last night because it’s all just too much; knowing that tomorrow I start Demetri’s rounds of celebrating his 13th birthday which is next week; all of these are leaving me exhausted beyond words. I want to do all I can to create and support great opportunities for them in these weeks and months that we need to celebrate the monumental. My frustration is coming in the fact that I can handle the bigger, more monumental tasks of creating parties to celebrate my kids and help handle all of our crashes. But I don’t seem to be able to handle things that used to be non-thinking, easy tasks. I worry that I may never be able to function with all cylinders again. And I worry that I am running out of words for myself and my children and that I just can’t figure out how to be a functioning human being.
Day after day, we are reminded of all of the ways in which we are missing Russell in our lives. We can’t just call to ask a question, or share stories with him at the end of the day, or celebrate new accomplishments, or ask a question that only he would know the answer to. All the little ways and times of connecting with him throughout the day are shining as glaring reminders that he isn’t here. And that just keeps getting harder to bear.
While I know that, in time, it will slowly become easier again in this time, in this moment we are finding things just as hard to do, if not more so, than they were when he first died. And that fact is leaving us all very, very frustrated. We want to be able to say yes to work and play. We want to be able to follow through on things we’ve said we can do. We want to leave gatherings with people feeling energized. The fact that we simply can’t do many of those things is hard to deal with.
So we keep baby stepping forward in our journeys and hold onto one another for dear life. We talk to each other because talking with others is too mind numbing to handle most days. We do what we can and tap out when we simply can’t handle it anymore. And we hope for a day when the daily tasks of life are easy again.