I’m not saying I’m in the new normal yet. They tell me I will be, but right now I’m in an in-between state of what was and what will be.
They say the memorial service will give me closure. I have to believe them, all the women who have walked this path before me. They tell me to take it one day at a time.
Frankly, facing the day is tough. I wake up and remember. If the cat didn’t cry for her breakfast I might stay in bed all day.
But I get up and feed her. I eat my own breakfast – a piece of toast or a bowl of oatmeal — more out of habit than hunger.
I clean his room, getting ready for the company that is coming. I replaced the half-century old mattress on his bed. The delivery men who took it out said no wonder it was so heavy, it was stuffed with feathers. I put up new curtains. It is no longer his room, but a guest room.
It’s cold outside, so I collect his sweaters and jackets and sweat pants and take them to the crisis ministry.
I shop for groceries and plan meals, for family and friends must be fed. When they offer to bring food I accept gratefully. I don’t feel like cooking. For lunch Friday I made a grilled cheese sandwich and threw half of it out. Those who know me know that I can eat no matter what, even if I am sick. Is this the new normal?
It hurts going past the nursing home where he died. It hurts going past Sonic, where he’d always take me up on it when I suggested, “Wanna go get a hot dog?” It hurts sitting alone in “our” church pew.
I’m assured it will get better. I am advised to pray. I pray the first third of Anne Lamott’s prayer: “Help! Thanks! Wow!” I may get to the second part in time.
They tell me I am strong. I’ve never felt weaker. I can talk to people, even laugh, but when I’m alone I cry.
They tell me the memorial service will bring closure. That the pain and grief will fade in time. That I will remember only the good things we shared, and not the last, sad months of alternating hope and despair.
This, I assume, is the new normal.
I don’t want it. I want time to turn back and make things the way they used to be. But I know that can’t happen. The past is gone.
And I’m waiting for my new normal to begin.