Monday, June 6, 2011

on just beneath

In the kitchen at work this morning making a cup of tea, a co-worker I haven't seen in a while (our organization takes up 5 floors of a building, I can go weeks without seeing some people) saw me and came in to say hi.  We talked about her kids and her weekend and then she paused, tilted her head to the side, reached out to touch my elbow and said, "but how are you guys doing".  The tone and her eyes told me she had changed the conversation.  I knew she wasn't asking how our weekend was, it was the look we came to know well for weeks after Mike's mom passed away.  "Oh, we're ok. Fine. We're good. Doing well."  It all came out too quickly, giving me away. 

Because we are some days.  But others we're not.  On those other days we're sitting at dinner on a beautiful Saturday night and when the conversation turns to our friend's aunt who was just diagnosed with cancer and then to whether or not we think Bernadette knew she was sick before the doctor's told her, the tears start before I even know they are coming.  The overwhelming feeling of...I'm not even sure I can put it into words.  Of just missing her.  Of being struck by how unbelievably strange it is that she is not here.  Thankfully we're good at changing the mood, and this past Saturday after a minute of clearing away tears from my face I laughed and said everyone at the restaurant was going to think Mike was dumping me.  And he laughed, and grabbed my hand, and we finished dinner talking about other things.  

But she is always there.  At any given moment just underneath the veneer of 'everything is fine'.  I asked Mike if he thought it will always be this way.  He said in a way he hoped so, in a way he hoped her memory would never be further than just beneath our every day life of moving forward.

Back to the kitchen after my words came tumbling out, the look again, but this time with a smile as she said, "it gets easier".  And it does. And it will. 


  1. Lauren, we were thinking of you and your aunt when all this happened. Too heavy for a Monday morning? I should have started the week with something light!

  2. Oh, my dear. I don't think it ever goes away entirely, and I'm with you guys - I wouldn't want it to be completely gone.

    We lost D's grandfather (who was really more like a father to both of us, because he lived with him) four years ago and we still sometimes have this happen. One of us will say something and then the other one starts tearing up and then it's all over for the next 10 minutes.

    The sharp grief gets easier, but those sudden stabs never go away, I think.