Getting back to normal?

by Elouise

P1030188

~~~Weeping Willow, Longwood Gardens

My heart and body wouldn’t cooperate with my mind today. So I’m following their lead to see what happens. Though I’ve felt this resistance in me before, each time it’s a bit different.

It’s about ‘moving on’ with my life. Getting back to ‘normal,’ whatever that is. With regard to the blog, that would be writing up the next part of my experience of our Early Marriage.

But I’m not yet there. I’ve had similar feelings with each death in my immediate family: Mom, Diane, Sister #4’s husband, Dad, and now Sister #2’s husband. I don’t want to lose any memories, or go back to life as though the earth didn’t just shake.

Besides, I don’t know how to get back to normal or get on with my life. In fact, with each day it seems much that I considered normal has also died, though not as visibly. The most painful reminder of this is what I say when anyone asks me how I’m doing. In many ways I’m not just fine.

I’m still thinking about our trip to Texas last week for my brother-in-law’s memorial service. I’m also remembering how I felt when I first learned of his death. My eyes were dry as a bone, unable to weep.

I wanted to cry. I’m a weepy person, yet I couldn’t manage to squeeze one tear out of my eyes. The harder I tried, the less likely it became. And there was all that packing to do.

The end came suddenly, without much warning. Not directly caused by earlier health issues, though they complicated the picture and made him more vulnerable than he already was.

Sister #2 and her family belong to a church denomination with a history of heartfelt congregational singing. I would even call it sturdy singing. Solid, with no holding back. Nothing flashy. Just straightforward congregational singing from the heart, often in four-part harmony.

Actually, I got caught at the memorial service even before we began to sing. Part of the opening liturgy was a congregational reading of the first two questions and answers of the Heidelberg Catechism.

I won’t quote them here. They’re old friends. I memorized them as a child and have gone back to them often, especially the first question and answer. They ground me when I feel the earth shaking beneath my feet. As we began reading them aloud, I teared up immediately.

During the rest of the service we sang all verses of four wonderful old hymns. I know and love each of them. One, however, caught me in the gut: Children of the Heavenly Father. It’s a favorite from Bible college days and was a favorite of Diane’s and my brother-in-law. I wept my way through the last verse.

By the time we came to the last hymn, For All the Saints, I was finally where I needed to be. Weeping, yes. But more important, I wasn’t denying that my brother-in-law had died or that it wasn’t so awful after all.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 5 May 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, May 2014