Friday, April 13, 2018
I am at the supermarket getting food to hold me over for the weekend while I visit Mom in Lancaster PA. This amazing grocery store is right down the road from her facility. I need quick things I can pop in the microwave. Food that is simple and not messy. I drop fresh pulled pork and homemade pork and beans into the cart. I’m gluten-free so I ask someone where that aisle is. “Number 17.”
As I push my cart over to the gluten-free aisle, I have a flashback. Perhaps it’s because Mom is in hospice. Perhaps it’s because the anniversary of my Dad’s passing is coming up – April 15, 1997.
Suddenly I am with my Mom, in the aisle at Shop-Rite, the day after my father died. We are stocking up on necessities as we had a houseful of family and friends coming and going. I stop in the middle of the aisle, people around me dropping cans of vegetables and soup into their carts and pushing past me. I am in a fog, life swirling around me. Everyone is going about their business like nothing happened. Like nothing has changed. The world around me moving normally.
But life ISN’T normal. Can’t they SEE that? My life has CHANGED! Forever! Why is the world revolving as if nothing happened? Why does everything look so normal? It’s not. My life is not ordinary. This is not a typical day. Why am I doing something so routine on one of the saddest days of my life?
My Dad died in the spring. I was a pre-school teacher and we would take the 3 and 4 years olds outside to play. One afternoon, I looked up and saw the buds on the trees and thought, life goes on. This is life. This is the cycle. Birth, life, death and birth again. It gave me hope. Hope that I would survive. Hope that I would feel joy again.
I am back in the gluten-free aisle, putting bagels in my basket, pushing past my sadness and just doing what’s normal. Then I go back to sit with Mom and hold her hand.