"Am I only dreaming?"
The nightmare didn't end. I didn't wake up, and the struggle with reality is only beginning. It's been a week since we said goodbye, and my stomach is still in knots.
"I'll wake up tomorrow and I'll start; Tonight it feels so hard."
I don't go to bed until you can argue that it's technically morning. And then I don't get out of bed until it's actually afternoon. Depression? I don't think so. Not specifically. Ennui? Maybe. I really don't know what I feel right now. And my new sleeping pattern is not going to coincide with my return to work.
"When you go, I'll let you be; But you're killing everything in me."
I want her back. But I know it doesn't work that way. I want to shout that it's not fair. But I know life isn't. I want to punch the wall, and fully realize all I'll end up with is a broken fist to accompany my heart. I don't know how to let go, and I'm afraid that I'm not more of a mess right now because I'm not letting go. Am I rationalizing it away as a defense mechanism? Or am I really stronger than I thought?
"I've always been afraid."
It's true. About lots of things. About taking chances. About quitting my job and striking off on my own. About losing people I love. Well, now I really know what one of those is like. But I'm going to try to learn the lesson she'd want me to learn: It will be okay.
"I feel that when I'm old; I'll look at you and know; The world was beautiful."
Over 500 lines in the guestbook were signed at Mom's wake. That doesn't include couples or families or those who didn't see the book. It's not a stretch to say there were easily over 600 people who came to pay their respects and maybe closer to 700. Some friends said they waited for over an hour to get inside. The line wrapped around the inside and the outside of the building. Some people actually saw the line from the street, went to run some errands, and came back later. (Mom would have enjoyed that.)
I'm lucky in that I don't have to wait till I'm older to appreciate the amazing woman that my mom was. The hundreds of people who came to pay their respects were proof. Not only friends and family from near and far. Her fellow teachers who all came out to say goodbye. Who helped us clean out the stuff in her classroom. Her former students and their parents. Our neighbors. Even our mailman came. The countless mass cards, letters, notes and emails. The food that seems to materialize from nowhere. The packed church. The overflowing cemetery chapel. The women at the bank who all broke down in tears when we told them that Mom passed. The amazing support from complete strangers.
"You say that love goes anywhere; In your darkest time, it's just enough to know it's there."
I can't begin to thank anyone who has shown us support. Our family and friends. The people who have stumbled across this blog. Woody among others--who I've never met or even spoken with aside from comments and comments about comments--who all leave me kind words and support. This is the darkest time of my life. The most painful thing I've had to face. But everywhere I turn I see love. A "thank you" doesn't cover that.
But that's all I have.
So thank you.
And Mom would thank you too. Her family was her world, and the support you have for us is support for which she would be forever grateful.
"Then you tell me..."
Here's to tomorrow.