Over the last few days, I have been pondering the way in which we deliver the devastating news of the death of a loved one. In English, we often preface this word with the phrase…”It is with a heavy heart…”
I’ve been pondering this because it’s not my heart that feels so heavy. It is my body. My body feels like it weighs a ton. Even as I type this, gravity seems to be pulling down on my forearms, my fingers move because they are accustomed to moving, but with a very conscious effort. I wake up in the morning and I wonder how I will get out of bed. My back hurts. My legs hurt. My arms. I lie flat and try to sink a little more into my mattress, try to stretch out my legs a little bit. Rotate my neck and get some of the kinks out.
I get up for a seemingly normal and beautiful day and it makes my shoulders sag to wonder what, exactly, I will do today. Even my breathing feels…heavy. There’s a reason the Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. The sighs are deep and there are no words.
Today I put on my workout clothes, kinda like the ones I was wearing late on Tuesday, April 25th when I first heard that Chris may have disappeared into the Mississippi River. And I started another very abnormal normal day. Got my iced coffee, went down to Lake Harriet. I walked a short stretch and then I just sat for awhile.
And eventually I had to just rest my head on the table because it felt so heavy. My eyelids. Not so much my heart, though.
I’m sure my heart is heavy, too. So I wonder if it’s just that it’s shattered in a million little pieces so I can’t feel the weight. Or sometimes it feels like it is floating on water. I suppose God’s way of helping me get through this. Get through this. Not really the words. I don’t think we ever “get through” something like this.
But today I did a few normal things with my very heavy body and my not so seemingly heavy heart in my new abnormal life. Here is an indication of just how abnormal my life is. I’m sitting on a little sliver of my couch between the box with Chris’s remains with the urn in it and maybe hundreds of cards and gifts that I need to read through because so many people are walking with us in this abnormal normal journey.
Because death is part of living. Later this week we’ll plant a tree with a few of Chris’s ashes and send him a little further on his journey in his biodegradable urn. (I’m sure some of you would like to read more about his “green cremation” here).
I often told Chris someday he would be a preacher. I wasn’t wrong. It’s just that this is not how I pictured it being. His death has brought life to his words in a way that we would have never imagined. Mine, too, it seems. Our new abnormal normal.
Someday I suppose my body will feel lighter and my heart heavier. Such is the way of these things. And then all heavier. And then all lighter. Someday.
I’ve posted these elsewhere, but I post here some poems that Chris wrote that I shared at the funeral yesterday.