It’s been that kind of week.
Grieving is rough, especially since life doesn’t stop coming at you because you’re hurting. Bad news somehow seems more offensive when you’re mourning someone. It’s like, Really? Today? You have to to tell me that today? . . . You’re tempted to tell people (rudely) to wait their turn to bother you. Grief almost takes the sting out of bad news. Compared to losing someone, what else is significant, really? Biblical plagues, perhaps, Earth-changing news . . . losing someone else . . . but not much else registers.
It really has been like a plague of locusts, though, around here. A swarm of grasshoppers descended on our garden this week. The corn is a complete loss. You walk near it and there’s a deafening series of pops and snaps and cracks as the grasshoppers start jumping from one stalk to another. They’ve eaten the tops of the tomato plants completely off– like they’ve been trimmed with hedge clippers– and they leave tomatoes on the vine with half of them neatly chewed off, almost like they were sliced with a knife. The mammoth sunflowers are just gone, eaten to the ground.
It’s not all a loss. The okra is untouched. The fall squash and pumpkins we planted for the next harvest are both growing up, healthy and green. We had our first watermelon tonight, fresh from the garden. The baby ate slice after slice, until his belly was round and he couldn’t shove another bite in. He reminded me of the grasshoppers, relentlessly munching.
And life does go on, regardless of how I may be feeling. The Skylanders portal broke, so it had to be packed up and shipped back to Activision. Another story rejection came in my email. Two of my kids have birthdays next week, so I have to figure out what they’re getting (and how to find the money to pay for the stuff.) I took my teenage son to the DMV today, to get him a state id card. Didn’t happen– they wanted two pieces of proof that we’re living where we say we’re living, with MY name on them. Since all our utilities are in my husband’s name, we had to get him to sign an affidavit before they’d issue the card. We’ll have to take that back, with the proofs plus his own documentation, but at the end of it he SHOULD have his own identification. He’s going to be 14. It’s time for him to have a wallet, an ID card, and a little allowance to blow on gum and model cars.
Life is different, though. I haven’t become a saint (sadly) . . . but things have changed. The first thing I did, the day after Judy died, was go to Reconciliation at the nearest church. I know I don’t live my life always according to my beliefs. I know that I have been failing miserably at being charitable and loving. So I had to get that junk off of my conscience and start doing better.
And things have been better. Not like “OMG AMAZINGG LIFE IS WONDERFUL!!!” but definitely “I’m much less likely to be a total (obscenity deleted) to everyone I know, at least some of the time.” I can actually talk to my stepson again, which we hadn’t managed for a couple months. I’m trying to be honest and open with people instead of hiding my feelings behind a joke or a lie.
That’s the hard part: being who I really am, instead of hiding it. You can write whole memoirs, autobiographies, and ten-thousand-entry blogs without once giving someone an honest opinion.
And I’ve given up soda pops, cold turkey. I don’t want to be the next victim of a heart attack or a stroke. I need to get in better shape, and I need to do it now. So the Vanilla Coke is gone and I’m eating a lot less overall. If it extends my life even by just one day, it will be worth it.
Because I wouldn’t mind showing up a day late for my funeral, if I’m late for anything at all.