I took the kids out to Mindy’s parent’s house this past weekend and we had a great time as usual. It had been raining the night before and things were a bit muddy…so naturally my tomboy Teen had mud on her clothes within minutes. Captain Sugarbear got to work building a “house” out in Grandaddy’s shop while Princess entertained herself. As we sat down to dinner things seemed more surreal. Mindy’s parents joked and teased one another, all in good fun, and in my mind I could hear Mindy jumping right in with them. I was listening to her laugh along with us. It made me laugh…more than I think the situation called for but it felt good.
I’ve spent the last several months missing her, thinking of her, dreaming of her; the dreams seem vivid. It’s odd that in my dreams I usually wake up to her laying next to me and my first thought is never how or why, but what will we tell everyone? In one dream I woke up (for real, not just dreaming) worried about how to repay the insurance money now that she was back with me…yeah I know! But that evening at dinner with her parents was the first time that my mind spun around like that; the first time my missing her wasn’t just a memory but more like a dramatization of a memory.
The next day was a very long, depressing day. I didn’t do much. No laundry. No cleaning. I didn’t even make it outside until we went for some dinner. I had this overwhelming feeling that I wanted to talk to someone. I picked up the phone and started to call several people, but I never did. I really wanted to talk to Mindy. I want to hear her voice tell me that I can keep doing this day after day. I just want to hear her voice.
I find it ironic that some days I’ll get compliments from friends or family about how well I’m doing. “Your kids are so wonderful, your doing a great job!” or “Your an amazing father, just look at how great those kids are.” But the truth be told, they are amazing kids and they’re doing a wonderful job with me; keeping me in line. We’ve had to deal with typical childish issues and teen drama, but they haven’t once gotten upset with me for how things are working out. I really don’t think I’m so amazing; although it’s nice to hear. I think if it were not for the wonderful children Mindy left me with, I would be a complete nut! I probably already am…they just make me hide it a little better.
It seemed, for a few weeks, like grief was giving me a little more space. I had more good days than bad and the bad days weren’t too terrible. I thought maybe I was onto a new phase of this whole ordeal, and I guess I am. Just not the way I was expecting. Now it seems like more reality has set in. The surreal feeling that she’s gone is fading away. Now when I feel her void it really hurts. Now when I want to remind her of that inside joke, or talk about our favorite TV shows it hits pretty hard. I started a new book we’re studying at church and I want to talk to her about it. I just remember how it was, usually after a couple of months of arguing and bickering over nothing, when we would have the most amazing conversations about anything and everything. The first little late night chats would be my indication that her mood swings were going the other way, so try not to screw it up. Maybe I just started to forget how bad February was, or maybe these past few days really are worse. I don’t know for sure. I do know that it’s harder to get out of bed and more difficult to not just collapse into a world of my own.
Is this the next phase…are there really any phases at all? I think not. I think it’s just a big blur of thoughts and emotions that seem to come in waves. Some times the tide is high, some times it’s low, and then there’s all the in between. But still just comes in waves.
Now Mom, I know your reading…and you just got off the phone with me back in the real world; well a few hours ago. I know you could tell I was having a bad day cause you asked me several times how I was doing. You only do that when you already know. But I just didn’t want to try to let it out. I don’t want everyone to worry about me. I know the kids and I are going to be okay (Romans 8:28 says so) and every day I try my best to connect with them and draw them in close. But this is my place to be weak…this is my place where almost no one knows me and I can sit alone in the glow of this monitor and push my thoughts out onto the web and I can be mostly uncensored. So don’t worry, I’m okay.