I keep thinking that it did not happen. Any minute now the front door will slam and he will call, "Hi, Mom!"
A friend whose husband died in a biking accident in the metroparks says that she thinks the same thing. "I imagine him standing in the doorway and saying, 'Hey, I've been lost in the Park for four years ~' "
I wonder how we can ever move out of this house. If he comes back, he won't be able to find us.
My friend says that when she sees changes around town ~ a new paint job, or a new building ~ she thinks. "He won't recognize where he is."
There is an article in today's paper about a woman who lost her 28-year-old daughter a year ago to a sudden wave that washed her out to sea from a spot near Manarola on the walk at the Cinque Terre. We walked that same walk as a family on our 2000 trip to Italy. The mother, who was ordained to ministry a couple of months after her daughter died, notes that the experts says it takes four to seven years to recover from the death of a child. I have watched my father for what in another week will be 48 years. Obviously the experts are clueless. I assume that by "recover" they mean reaching the state the mother's blog reveals today, a blend of hopeful joy in life and anguished sadness and distress in loss. Or maybe they don't mean anything at all.
At the root of Ignatian spirituality is the conviction that God is to be found in all things. Yesterday I began to wonder, for the first time and in the most tentative way, where God might be found in this. A beginning, I thought.
And in the afternoon I accepted my CPE supervisor's invitation to sit out on the beach with her at sunset and I talked nonstop for more than an hour. In May I thought that I was doing CPE this summer to meet a Presbytery requirement. And then in July I thought that I was doing it so that I would discover the work I would want to do for the rest of my life. And now in September I think that maybe I was doing it so that I would gain a friend who can look death directly in the eye, because I would need her only a few weeks later.
Last night I paged through the guestbook from the funeral home. People from California, from New York, from North Carolina, from Arkansas. Rabbis, priests, nuns, ministers. People I have met once or twice in person via the internet. People I have known my entire life. Our son's teachers and classmates from Montessori preschool through middle school, from high school, from college, colleagues from work.
One person said that night, "I thought you said that Montessori school was small. Is the entire school here?"
A phone call from France. "I am so sorry I cannot come; it is just so far...".
We asked that memorial contributions be sent to the summer camp he so loved as camper and counselor. Word has come to us that the camp directors are responding to every gift with a personal note.
Just the thought of God's grace at work is disorienting and exhausting. But perhaps it is there ~ in the friend who sits at the kitchen table sharing ash-scattering stories, in the people who drive or fly for hours to share a few minutes with us, in the evening light over the beach.