Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Below is something I wrote the Day after James' funeral. I still keep a journal, and this is what I wrote that day. I was looking over it tonight and one line struck me. Back then, almost four months ago, I wrote that I didn't have a time table. When I read that tonight I started to wonder if that was changing, if in the intervening months I'd decided that there was a time I was going to allot to this, the same way I might schedule a meeting or plan a budget to buy a new car. I've always found a certain degree of comfort in schedules. I like to know when and where I can expect to deal with something and prepare myself accordingly. When I read this tonight it struck me that I still, after all this time, have no timetable. I can't even schedule when or how I think of James, whether it's smiling when I stumble upon a giraffe walking stick we got from the zoo, or freezing when I open my trunk and see the base of his car seat still there. For some reason I was fine taking it out of the backseat but couldn't bear to take it out of the trunk. So now I just don't use the trunk. I don't even have a timetable for when I'm taking that out, let alone when I'm going to deal with everything else.
What I am beginning to realize is that perhaps this never ends. Perhaps I'm not going to "get over it." Perhaps I'll just live with it and manage it. I don't necessarily mean that in the sense that I will lead the rest of my life morbidly depressed, but in that James and his loss are never going to fit into a neat, compartmentalized box in my life. There is never going to be a file I can index and store for this, it's always going to be there, the good and the bad. I've come to believe this isn't necessarily a bad thing. James was an amazing gift, and it was the highest privilege I have ever known to be his father. I don't want a timetable for getting past that.
The picture is a James "self-portrait" I handed him my phone with the camera on and let him play with it. He took a few select shots of himself on accident and this was one of them- he's trying to put the phone as close as he can get it so that he can get at the baby in the picture. I loved watching him do that, and I like to remember things like that, the way he played, his objectives. I don't want to forget those things.
Thank all of you for your continued support and prayers. It's been very comforting over the last few months to hear from all of you.
Day Twenty Nine
Today marks either the first day of the rest of my life or the last day of the best part of my life. I suppose it's a question of perspective. After James' service yesterday, family has slowly migrated home, back to their jobs and their lives. Friends have faded, though still supportive, the sense of urgency fades. James is buried, commended to the earth and claimed in faith. All that remains from now on is what we do with ourselves. We are left to grieve, to mourn, and to recover as best we can.
I wish I could say that I spent the first day of this new period well, meditating on James life or reflecting positively in some way. God knows I would have liked to. Instead, I did virtually nothing all day. I woke. I dressed. I showered. Each act took too long, a little more time than you might expect. Forty minutes to get out bed. 20 for the shower and getting dressed. Pauses were long, and frankly I completely lost track of time on several occasions. Focus comes irregularly, and all too often sharp on the wrong images. The background picture on my phone. The cluster of toys on the hearth, still unmoved. We haven't gone through anything yet.
I went to dinner with a friend I'd scheduled yesterday. Thai food, drunken noodles with a touch of spice but nothing overwhelming. If I hadn't scheduled the dinner yesterday I seriously doubt I would've done anything at all today. And maybe that's ok. Maybe there is no time table for what I'm doing here, maybe there's no way this ought to look. Kara and I both love schedules, exact timetables we can rely on and trust completely. I am obscenely punctual. But we can't schedule this. And so I lose days in the cemetery, days I never even knew were there. It's humbling, and incredibly enlightening at the same time.