I simply can’t hold the strength ball all the time. So please pardon me while I feel really sorry for myself. Because here's the thing: I used to love Sundays and now I almost-but-not-quite dread them. You see, my sons Chad and Nick used to come over for dinner every Sunday. And now they don’t.
Chad died and Nick moved away into his new life and it’s not near by, so Sunday dinners are officially a thing of the past.
I know seasons change in life. I know that even if Chad were alive, the Sunday dinner thing would have changed, because everything in life changes. Nick still would have moved, (and believe me, I’m truly happy for him about that) and other things would have changed too. That's just how it goes, and I get it.
But Chad isn’t alive anymore. So he’s not coming over ever again. And there won’t be any time ever again that he will come over for Sunday dinner and potentially bring a wife, or children, or even a dog. Not ever. And there won’t be any time ever again that, after dinner, he will take a nap on the sofa. Never ever again.
I used to love when he took a nap on the sofa. Something so deeply maternal about that, no matter how old they are. My Mom used to say that one of the best feelings about having kids was when they were asleep in the crib, because you knew where they were, and you knew they were safe. That's how I'd feel when, as an adult, Chad would fall asleep on the sofa. I miss that feeling, and sometimes, on Sunday afternoons, I imagine him curled up there, sleeping ... and of course, that's a sure recipe for tears. Lots of tears on Sunday afternoons.
I used to gripe sometimes about cooking on Sundays. And I used to complain (to my girlfriends) that the boys didn’t care what they ate or how beautifully the table was set. So I stopped setting the table and I just threw the paper plates on the counter and I saved the concept of setting a pretty table for the times when my girlfriends would come over. I felt like a real wise woman when I made that decision.
But actually, I was an idiot.
Crazy how we don't know what we don't know.
Because now I would eat out of my hands if I could have Sunday dinners again with both of my sons. I’d eat out of the damn pot and share one spoon. Forget the spoon, I’d lick it out of the pan if that was the only option. Hands down I'd give up the napkins. And I wouldn’t complain about anything ever again. If I could just have them back for Sunday dinners, I would do anything. That’s what I tell myself. Even though that’s probably not how it would really be. Because we all take for granted what we have… we all take for granted what’s really important - especially when it comes to the ones we love.
Now on Sundays I pull myself together as best as I can, and I bravely engage in the spirituality and faith traditions that keep me courageous and (depending on my current level of receptivity) nurtured with peace, love, and maybe even grace. Sometimes I drive to the cemetery where I stand at his grave and cry. Afterwards, I might pop into the grocery store and it isn't even 10 am yet but I'm already worn out. I have the whole day ahead of me to “rest” on the Sabbath which I used to really like doing. But now, not so much. I don’t get that Sunday rest anymore. And the phrase "no rest for the weary" resonates in my bones.
Now on Sundays I don't experiment with new recipes, and I definitely don't invite anyone over, and basically, Chad's absence becomes a really big, heavy presence. And let me tell you, it's a full and empty bag to hold. And I've been left holding it. A full - and at the same time empty - bag of heaviness and sadness and pain; one I have to carry around every day. Most days I do alright, and if you've lost a child, most days you probably do alright too.
But today is Sunday. And I'm feeling more than a little bit sorry for myself. Because Sundays are rough since Chad died. Period.
I'm holding out great hope that they'll get better. That at some point in my process on this transformative journey of grief and suffering, Sundays will transform into something luminous. In fact, I even allow myself to believe that they will become life-giving - if only I surrender to the mystery. I'm pretty sure that's what I'm doing, ready or not.
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