My beloved and I had plugged along through August, and we were juggling the here and now with the there and then when everything imploded. A phone call early on the last Friday in August told us my beloved’s mother had suffered a heart attack and was pending emergency open heart surgery. Another call an hour later told us she didn’t make it to surgery.
Of course we went into crisis mode working on covering obligations, making travel plans, and trying to be present via phone while across the country. My beloved left the next day and spent a week with his family. I stayed behind to manage things here, namely a work celebration at my husband’s job, and a moving sale at our apartment. We buckled down and did the hard work that week with almost the entire country between us. A week never felt so long, nor the country so vast.
(Side note: I can’t imagine how any long-distance marriages survive, and I especially think of our troops as we send them back down the same sad road, leaving whole families behind for months at a time. Those families know loss like no others.)
Since he’s returned, it’s been hard for both of us to stay on task, and I’m surprised at all we accomplished in just 3 weeks. The everyday wood and water tasks are enough to wear us out, and we have done a lot more than just chop wood and carry water. We’ve sold all of our furniture and made several trips to a local thrift store. We’ve taken the car in for maintenance and are prepping my love’s car to sell. We are packing the last few boxes and have our shipping estimates as low as they can possibly get without giving absolutely everything we have away. We’ve also been visiting friends and family within a 150-mile radius to say goodbye for a while. We wrapped up September with bittersweet celebrations: my beloved’s birthday and our local farewell party.
Needless to say, we’re ready for this trip, and we can’t get started fast enough now. We want to circle the family wagons and huddle up this winter especially. We’re looking at the road trip as time to heal these fresh wounds of loss and to process the sticky parts of early grief while we transition into this next phase of life. We also need something to be happy about, and seeing the country with my beloved and our dog will most certainly meet that need.
This is indeed a life in flux.