Friday, March 15, 2013

This week.

I got the call Sunday morning.  It was early-ish, around 8, and people don’t usually call at that time so as soon as my phone rang I felt like something was wrong.  But I always feel like something is wrong when I my phone rings at an odd time, so I went through the spiel in my head: You worry too much, everything is fine, your mother is just calling to see if you’re coming over for dinner.

But that wasn’t it.

My friend, whom I’ve known for my whole life, one of ‘the girls,’ had lost her husband the night before.  He just collapsed.  I didn’t know what to say.  I still don’t know what to say.  He was such a kind, nice, funny man.  And so young.

Heather and Jack had been together for about as long as Christopher and I, give or take a couple of years.  And you couldn’t find people who were any nicer.  They have a little girl, Amelia, who’s 3.  And Heather just had baby Collette two weeks before Jack died.

My mom wanted me to call all of the girls and let them know.  And so I did.  I felt helpless, but this was something tangible that I could do.  Something I could do to keep from someone else having to do it.  Every time I spoke with one of the girls I just kept repeating “I know.”  But what I was really saying was “I know.  I don’t know what to say, either.  I know, I don’t understand how this could have happened.  I know, I’m hurting for Heather and her babies, too.  I know, I don’t know what to do.  I know.  I know.” 

It was the same with each phone conversation.  Our words were stilted and short and full of disbelief.  And  helplessness.

I know.

Sunday afternoon I drove to Heather’s house.  I wanted to be there for her.  Her family was there, of course, and they were taking good care of her.  I held the baby for an hour, because it was, again, something tangible.  It was my first time meeting Collette.  She is as gorgeous as her name, and as gorgeous as her older sister.

I didn’t cry at the funeral, and I have no reason for it.  But I cried each time I called my friends.  And I cried when I hugged Heather.  And I cried Monday night when I was alone, trying to pick out something to wear to the visitation. 

I haven’t been sleeping well.  I just keep having dreams about her and Jack and the funeral.  And I’m just sad.  It takes me hours to go to sleep because my heart hurts.

On Monday morning at the gym after a particularly awful workout I went to take a shower.  It took me a minute to realize that the water wasn’t warming up.  I started to leave but then I thought about Heather.  It was like, this type of pain, the cold water, was nothing compared to the shock and depth of pain and disorientation that she was dealing with.  And part of me believed that by stepping into that frigid water, by letting it hit me, I would alleviate some of her pain.  I know it sounds ridiculous.

On Tuesday the girls decided that we’d order a remembrance blanket from a florist for Heather instead of having flowers sent because it would be something she could keep.  Something she could have.  So I called early, at 8 to try to order one.  And I spoke with a woman who knew about Jack and knew exactly what I wanted.  But she wasn’t officially open yet so I said I’d call back in a couple of hours.  And when I called back no one answered.  And when I called back later she wasn’t there, but a young guy who wasn’t familiar with anything was and he took my number.  And when I called back even later he told me that she still wasn’t there but that I could find the blankets somewhere on ebay where I could at least look at them and pick out what I wanted and be ready.  Except he’d never used ebay and so couldn’t tell me how to find the blankets or even the name of the ebay store.  An hour later than that, because I am an optimist, I texted one of my friends to ask her exactly how much longer I should wait to call a different florist.  It was 3 in the afternoon.  She took care of it, called a different florist and had exactly what we wanted and ordered it.  It took 2 minutes.

The first florist still hasn’t called me back.

The visitation was held in the church gym, which is testament to how well-loved both Heather and Jack and their families are.  We got there right as the prayer was starting, so I found my friends and we huddled together, comforting each other.  

When we got home from the funeral on Wednesday, both Chris and I started cleaning.  Like deep cleaning.  And since then I've gone through junk drawers and tried to organize my yarn/sewing closet, and straightened up the neglected cupboards.  It's like, there is so much disorder.  So much that I can't control.  But this I can.  This little bit of organization can put at least something right again.

I can't imagine what Heather is going through.  Writing this is all I can do.  As my aunt said, who is a close friend Heather’s mom, and who is the person who called my mother, we’re not supposed to have to deal with this now.  We’re too young. 

I don’t feel like I have the life experience to know what I can do.  I have to stop myself from texting Heather multiple times a day, just to let her know I’m thinking about her.  I don’t want to bother her.  But I don’t want her to think that we’re not still grieving for and with her.

Because we all still are.

(I write a little more about the girls here.)  


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