In times of loss you do a lot of thinking.
A lot of what does this mean for me questions.
A lot of reevaluating where you are and where you want to be inquisitions.
A lot about the ones you lose and the time you have left with the ones you still have.
There's one for sure thing about it,
We got news. Some of the hardest to hear. It's been over a year. The rain came down, heavy, flooding, blinding rain. The kind of rain that washes the familiar away and makes room for new ways to become familiar.
There was a checklist of things to accomplish before strapping our seat belts.
- Take the dogs to Jay
- Get the boys to my brother
- Lock the house
- Call Dale.
Is he ok? Where are we going? Where will we sleep? Questions that in the bigger picture didn't matter. We'd figure it out when we got there.
As the windshield wipers gave the calming affect of something constant, predictable we navigated our way with dim, rain filtered light. It should have been three hours there. What we had to face, unknown. The months ahead of us some of the hardest we would face.
Here we are today coming up on the anniversary of my father-in-law's passing. We have come back to that new familiar place of grief, sadness, loss, questions, unknowns, remorse once again.
A message, a phone call. Hearing words of another one close to us passing just yesterday. Finding myself at one moment in peace and at another the burn of emotion traveling along the front of my forehead and down into my tear ducts, even putting pressure in my ears and a lump in my throat. Sometimes my head spinning with where I think my mind should be instead of the calm I find myself in. death again in such a brittle time. I should be a mess.
"Take the dogs to Jay" My mind goes there at that time in the pouring rain where I hiked my pant legs up and maneuvered my expecting body through the drops that pounded atop my head. There he stood, all six plus some feet of him, never minding the cold wet rain as much as I did.
"Hey hon! Give me that stuff, I'll take care of it."
His strong, massive hand relieving the dog food, leash, and bowls from mine.
"You want some pizza?"
My mind too distracted to eat and my body too anxious to get to where I needed to be.
"Tell them all we're thinking about them. Bill is a good man. I'm so sorry this has happened"
His condolences passed through his lips as his arm embraced my shoulders.
This is how I remember Jay. Always being there for us. His sweet card when we experienced our miscarriage. His help and advice when building our house. The countless hours he spent building two houses for our family. Every birthday, every holiday, a familiar face at my parent's house. A life long best friend, a brother, an uncle. A gentle giant.
As he sat there at the head of my parent's table that Christmas morning before the chaos of the day began I knew something was different. His large frame not as full as it had been months before. We made our usual jabs. We awed over the book of his grandbabies. I shared my excitement around the Chief's game we attended the day before. Something he loved. I wish I would have hugged him. Told him goodbye in a much deeper way. Told him just how much I appreciated all the times he had been there. But that was Jay. The Jay we knew didn't like attention on himself, he didn't even like birthday celebrations in his honor. He would have been damned if I would have gushed over him in that moment. Joking away my questions about the weight he had lost. We spent it just as he would have liked, talking about the things he enjoyed, he loved with some of the people he loved.
See ya later, Jay...