How DO you spend the day on the third anniversary of your little sister's death? I wish Oprah would provide a show on this so I wouldn't have to muddle through it without a guide. Since The Mighty O didn't spell it out for me, this is what became of my today:
6:30 am Alarm clock goes off. Hit snooze.
6:33 am BlackBerry alarm goes off. Hit snooze.
(This set repeats for another 11 minutes.)
6:44 am Rise. Back very sore. Eyes are puffy from crying last night. Not a good start. Dear friend who slept over is still kind of asleep. Quietly dress and take dog out for morning walk, convinced that if the day is kicked off with quiet, reflection, and prayer that it will go well- calm, cool, collected--- not raging and crying. Right. Good plan.
6:47 am Outside. Realize that I am way under dressed for this frigid Mississippi morning. Decide not to go back to the trailer- convinced that once moving will be warmer.
6:48 am Crap. It's so cold. Tuck face into hoodie and hands into sleeves. If I cry while walking the tears will freeze to my face. That won't be pleasant. Talk myself out of crying. I mean it. Oh, remind myself to bring cups to morning meeting as requested. Must remember cups.
7:35 am Return from morning walk completely frozen. Feed frozen dog. Shower, if only to thaw out. Flip the TV on to SportsCenter while trying to talk myself into the day. Laugh when the SportCenter guy sings the Snowmeiser song while covering last night's outdoor hockey game. Good- laughing- Good.
7:51 am Receive email that my ride to my morning meeting will be late. Find 17 other things to do to keep busy for 15 minutes, as not to have empty time and space for mind to wander. Delete emails from BlackBerry, clip toenails, straighten up living room, pile laundry, organize mail, etc. Busy, busy, busy. No crying. Good.
8:15 am Meet my ride to go to the meeting. Can it really still be that cold outside? Pile into giant truck for bumpy ride to Pearlington. This oughtta be good on the sore back. Break out the BlackBerry for the morning round of emails while in the car. What did people do before multi-tasking became popular? Their minds must have wandered and then they cried. Silly single-taskers.
8:30 am Freak out when sappy Kenny Chesney song comes on the radio. Remember that Chesney is lame and that you should not ever cry during one of his whiny songs, even if it is the one that always makes you think of your sister. Try to stop crying. Look out the window. No crying. Turn the radio dial. Chesney is on every station. How is that possible? Find a station with no Chesney. It's Big and Rich and they're screaming about saving horses and riding cowboys. Sing along about riding a cowboy- it is a sure way to stop the tears. Chuckle when sweet, 6'5", non-country-loving friend who's driving the truck starts singing along about riding a cowboy so I don't feel bad. Good friend.
8:58 am After arriving in Pearlington, sit in the truck a moment to pray for patience. Remember that it is not all about you today, even though you wish it were. The world goes on. This day and every day -- for all of us. Deal with it.
9:00 am Meeting with Village Staff in Pearlington. We have to meet in the kitchen because it is the only place warm enough that we can talk without teeth chattering. Meeting's not great, but there's no crying. Feeling a bit accomplished.
10:10 am Overnight guest is driving out of Mississippi, stopping by to say farewell in Pearlington. Mumble awkward goodbye before escaping to solitude in the truck to wait for driver to be ready to go. No room in my heart for drama, goodbyes, or other people's emotions today. I've got me and mine to worry about.
10:20 am Drive back to Gulfport with sweet, 6'5", non-country-loving, cowboy-riding-song-singing friend who tolerates my insane bursts of crying, anger, laughter, ridiculousness, gossip and rage. Tumble out of the truck to get supplies for a new volunteer and to check that someone is going to make a propane run today so I'll have heat in the trailer tonight. Welcome back a fun friend who's been out of town for a while. Proud of self for having pulled it together to appear normal for a bit. Get annoyed with myself for being proud of having pulled it together. It's been three years. Get over it and move on. Sheesh.
11:30 am Head to the office. Sit in the car emailing on BlackBerry while waiting for co-worker/confidant who will join in to carpool to lunch.
11:48 am Head to lunch with co-worker/confidant who is also having a bad day, week, month, etc. Listen to her share her bummer of a New Year's Eve. She receives a call that we both need to be on an important conference call in 30 minutes, wherever we are. Good thing we've got BlackBerries. Crap! Forgot the cups this morning. Frustrated with self for being forgetful today. Make arrangements for some one else to take care of The Great Cup Crisis of 2008.
12:30 pm While enjoying THE BEST sweet potato fries ever made, listen in to conference call where a huge bomb is dropped on our agency. Sit in shock. Marvel over how The Church sometimes just doesn't get it. Wonder how I can be involved in such a church. Feel totally powerless to help. Waves of frustration and confusion seep in. Finish fries. Head back to the office - very deflated.
1:30 pm Spend the afternoon in the office working on creating training documents and standardized paperwork. Don't have what I need to finish. Boil with frustration. Turn on radio, turn off radio. Get up, sit down, get up, sit down. Nothing is comfortable, nothing is working. Phone and email ringing off the hook. So quick to anger. Prayer for patience earlier needs repeating. Not interested in prayer currently. Wow. Push through.
4:30 pm Give up on working. Run out to pick up a cake for tomorrow's all-staff meeting and to buy some utility knives for new staff. Home Depot only has one Husky knife. Lowes has none. Urg. Irrational anger at the sub-par stocking habits of home repair supply warehouses consumes me. Decide after bad luck there not to try get the cake tonight. Decide to be done with the day. Just done.
5:20 pm Arrive back in the Village in time to set up car pooling for tomorrow's meeting, quickly walk dog, check the mail, and snuggle in with Charlie Gibson's Iowa pre-game. Suddenly problems of the nation/world seem silly. I'm the one with real heartache. Idiots.
6:00 pm Heat up departed overnight guest's leftover calzone and teach Eddie to play fetch while watching Hardball at the same time, a trick every dog should master. Matthews does everything he can to test the attention span, but Eddie fetches on. Try to remember the last time work ended in time to catch Hardball. Getting frustrated with thoughts of work so give up trying to remember. Channel surf during the commercials and wonder if Monster.com really does hear my calling calling or if I should quit my current job and try out for CMT's Ultimate Coyote Ugly Contest. Decide that today's not for that kind of thinking.
6:30 pm Give up on TV and the outside world. Slap on the flannel jammies and bunker down in bed with the new laptop and three of the six books that usually just sit, half-read for months at a time, next to the bed.
6:32 pm Soak in the sounds of Eddie gnawing on his bone in the living room while waiting for the computer to fire up. Thank my lucky stars that there is a gentle, loving beast in the trailer tonight. Decide that the gentle, loving beast might could break the rules tonight by receiving permission to sleep IN the bed.
6:35 pm Start preparing a mental list of things to do tonight to occupy a wandering mind. Review the list of things already done today that occupied the wandering mind successfully. Turn that list into a blog. Decide if it is selfish to post such a blog, especially given general inability to talk to live people-style-friend-types about feelings today. Prepare to post it anyway, in an effort to be honest.
7:10 pm The call of the Internet is too tempting. Succumb to the Google to check if Molly's funeral site guest book is still available online. It is. Read through some of the entries. How can it be that it was three years ago when it hurts like it was today? How can there be no more answers, no further closure? Why do people say that time heals these wounds? They make you feel self-indulgent for still hurting after three years; for talking about it too much and crying too much; for allowing it to continue to change a life your trying to survive. Calling family doesn't help because they don't grieve the way you do and don't understand how you feel and you can't relate to where they are in the process either because you're too caught up in yourself anyway. Sit in it. The aloneness is overwhelming. Cry, cry, cry.
7:45 pm There's the noise of the loving beast chewing his bone. He knows nothing of life before or after the event that changed it all. He just chews. Ah, to be a dog.
8:00 pm Give up trying to make sense of anything and hit the lights. Throw on the Gilmore Girls Season 7 DVD to drown out any pangs of reality and try to drift off to sleep without re-opening the meaning of life debate. There's always tomorrow.....