The past week has gone by in a blur, my mind barely processing all that has happened. Our lives are forever changed by the events set in motion the minute David got the phone call, and kept repeating "Dad died" as I let out a slow "Noooooo" as my eyes filled with tears ...as if taking back the words would make it not so.
Almost immediately my mind went to 'why us?' and 'why now?' Haven't we been through enough this year? Hasn't our sense of comfort and certainty been shattered already?
The fact is that David's dad, Al's death wasn't traumatic like Ezra's. It wasn't entirely unexpected, since his health has been compromised for at least the last 5 years, in particular over the last month since he fractured his hip. But he had been doing well with his rehabilitation, and we let ourselves believe that perhaps he would skirt the 'risk factors' associated with his injury. Sadly, we were mistaken.
But so much is familiar. The tears that spontaneously erupt at a fleeting thought. The sense of failure and helplessness. The deep desire to wake up and discover the nightmare is over.
I will admit that the grief is really David's, afterall he has 41 years of Dad to grieve, whereas I only met Al in his old age, when his health was already declining. But he was always gentle and kind to me, welcoming me to the family, and grieving deeply when Ezra was gone. I will miss his warm smile and his goofy jokes.
Mostly it is devastating to see David so sad again, the Ezra-sized hole in his heart now widened by a Dad-sized hole. David said to me that he feels like a part of his molecular makeup is gone, just like a part left along with Ezra. All too familiar.
Making the funeral arrangements on Monday felt easy, we'd made these sorts of decisions before, just over 10 months ago. I returned to work on Tuesday and Wednesday dazed from lack of sleep and disoriented by the events of the week, somehow carrying out my responsibilites on automatic.
And now we are home, having buried Al yesterday (Thursday). The funeral service was personal and beautiful, the highlight of course being David's gorgeous poem...which was met with many an 'Amen' throughout the church as he read the lines. I have yet to read or hear that poem without crying at the end. As the tears fell yesterday, I thought yes its a small comfort that Ezra is now on his grandfather's knee...but really he should be on MY knee.
Just because Al's death wasn't entirely unexpected doesn't make it any less sad or the pain any less raw. As I watched the tears fall yesterday, it occured to me that if we truly allowed ourselves to imagine how much it would hurt to lose those we love, we'd probably never allow ourselves to love at all. But love is what gets us through these hard times, and thankfully we have lots and lots of love to carry us through this difficult leg of life's journey.