No matter how hard we try to prepare ourselves for it, no matter if we try to separate ourselves from someone to avoid the pain, no matter how much warning or how little- death stinks.
Phone calls in the middle of the night pretty much only mean one thing- unless it is from someone who is a known drinker, in which case they are generally a “hey how are you doing? Oh were you sleeping?”
Those are preferred to the ones with hushed tones that apologize for waking you. The ones where your heart skips a beat if you turned on the light and can see the caller id and know it is not frivolous.
About midnight last night the call came for me. My mom on the line, quiet and calm (in shock) to say my grandma Shirk had died within the last hour, unexpected, no reason apparent, just gone. Grandpa is in desperate grief. She was his everything. He speaks of killing himself so that he can just get his misery over with. He cannot see a life without her. My step dad is going to face two funerals in a matter of months I am sure.
Then you drive your husband to the train station and keeping it together pretty well until on the way back, alone on the curvy roads in the early morning dark, Mark Shultz sings “Walking Her Home” and the tears start to fall. Might as well be trying to drive in a hurricane for the visibility. Why did I pick this morning to listen to my new WOW cd? I had no idea that song was on there. Great way to find out, no?
Then comes the telling the children. Do you do it before school and ruin their day? After and ruin their evening, leaving them without the solace of finding laughter and peace with their friends? Forgetfulness in school work?
For yourself once they are all gone and you are home alone facing a long day-how do you keep the heartburn away? How do you get rid of the stupid awkward lump in your throat that makes you feel you cannot take a deep breath?
And why of all days do you choose to wear eyeliner on this day?