Last week was my aunt’s birthday. It is the first holiday (yes I said holiday—birthdays are a big deal) that I didn’t buy a card from my grandma for one of her children. It was surreal. When absence takes a seat in your heart, its weight is heavily felt. I almost bought a card for her anyway…and for a minute I could smile and pretend like she was still there. As days go by, grieving people tend to mark time. We count how many birthdays and thanksgivings there have been since our loved ones have passed. We tally the moments we could have had, noting the good tasks we completed instead of the great things that might have mattered more. We learn to adjust to the loss of opportunity—to a life that is different: One in which we mourn the mundane moments, those simple ones we would give anything to have back, and forge a new normal for ourselves.
That same week, I had 3 baskets of clean clothes that I sifted through every day when deciding what to wear. Laundry among other things was sitting, waiting to be dealt with. I dreamt of my grandma one of those mornings. She came to my bedroom, hugged me tightly, gave me a load of her laundry, and said “I haven’t seen you in a few days.” I moved the baskets out of the way for her to walk in. She laid on my bed and I thought I should just lay next to her as I sorted through her clothes. I woke up before having done so… But for a few sweet moments, I felt her here with me.
I went to visit my Grams’ grave yesterday. In the dream, she said she hadn’t seen me in a few days. Truth be told, I hadn’t seen myself in awhile. Grams was gone, but my laundry was still there.
What overwhelms us may take different forms: Maybe stress, loneliness, grief… For me, it is time to address my grandmother’s passing and face everything I put aside while caring for her: my calling, my relationships, namely myself. You know your desires and needs better than anyone else does. Honor them. If you like you can join me. I’ll start with the laundry.