“How are you doing?”
That is a puzzlement!!
We all ask that question in one form or another. We ask it in ordinary everyday situations. But let there be a death in the family and it is a standard question.
The thing is…while I don’t know how to answer it…most caring people don’t know what else to say. We are all at a loss for words when emotions run high.
I have a variety of answers…it depends on the moment. “How am I doing?”
” I’m here” “Numb” “A vast emptiness” “Blank” “A strange anxiety“ “A harsh loneliness” (which is very different from solitude),
I stumble over how to answer the question.
The other day I began thinking – for fifty-eight years Rodney and I operated as a team. Even though we spent a lot of time apart – both from work situations and our numerous projects. But we always checked in, consulted with each other, reported the ups and downs of whatever was going on. Now I’m playing the game with half a team. Anyone who has played a team sport can imagine what that is like.
No way am I complaining. I have so much to be grateful for that it is overwhelming. Fifty-eight years together, plus dating for five years before that. Hard to believe I was a junior in high school when we had our first date. We lived a wonderful life with more adventures than most folks ever experience. Our family is marvelously great. Rod didn’t suffer some long protracted illness…only in the hospital less than twenty-four hours. I have had unbelievable support from family, friends and church community.
One gift in this whole process…as a team, Rodney and I had had long conversations about what we wanted to happen when we die.
I can’t imagine my life after his death June 5 if we hadn’t talked about all of this before. For a long time we thought we wanted our ashes (cremation was always part of the equation) in the cemetery in Arkansas City where my folks are. Then one day we decided almost simultaneously…we want them in the Memorial Garden at Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village. That seemed so right then and certainly seems right now.
We’d done all the expected things…wills, arranged with the Cremation Center, told the kids where things are, arranged to move to a retirement apartment, began to get rid of “stuff.”
What we hadn’t done enough of was talk about what we expected for ourselves if we were the one left. We did laugh a lot about the fact that Rodney shouldn’t be the one left behind…because he would starve to death. You can live only so long on peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches.
Now it is time to create a new life. I just need to give myself time to do that. We created it this far…with prayer and support I’ll create the rest of this journey.