I know I've been going on and on about how crazy life is right now.............but it really is honestly insane what has been thrown at us these past few weeks. Between a flooded house, volleyball season kicking off, the regular beginning of school rush, Natalie and pink eye and now Craig sick with everything else......it's been a zoo.
And then to add to the mix - last Wednesday was the toughest day of the year for my husband.
I don't talk much about Craig's family because it's his family, his business and he is a much more private person than I. His mom, grandmother and sister all live close by so we see them at least once a week and they are crucial to us being able to decide on a whim to see a movie on a Sunday night - they're always willing and happy to baby-sit Natalie.
But there's a piece missing.
Craig's father passed away ten years ago last Wednesday which was September 19th.
Craig was 28 years old.
It was sudden, tragic and life altering.
I cannot comprehend the kind of pain that Craig and his family went through in the aftermath of his father's death.
But you know, grief is a funny thing. I think Craig has spent the last ten years of his life working through the stages of grief and, to whatever extent one can after such a tragedy.....he has moved on in his life. He had built a life and career for himself in the wake of an unspeakable horror.
But Natalie came along and tore apart his neatly stitched heart - the one that was ripped into pieces when his father died.
Now the seven stages of grief take on more meaning. He is no longer mourning the loss of his father for himself and his family but for the years ahead and for his daughter. Every year there's a day to remind us all of the relationship Natalie will never have. The grandfather she will never know.
It makes us angry.
Angry. Ha. What a small word for such a grand concept. Is there a word greater than anger? Furious? Infuriated? Rageful? Those words don't give our feelings justice. It makes my husband's heart scream and beat on the walls of his body because his father is gone and missing out on one of the world's greatest little girls.
No. Anger is not the right word. There is no word for how this feels.
And I sit there helpless and sad. Sad because I know how it feels to miss out on that relationship. My granddaddy passed away one month before I was born.
I want to scream for him. I want to lash out at God and yell at him all my questions. WHY did you let this happen? WHY did you cause my husband such pain? WHY is my daughter being punished for something she had absolutely no part in?
But I don't tell Craig all this. I try not to add to the grief. So I listen and comfort. Console and pray.
There's another funny thing about these life altering events....the silver lining is always there, even in the darkest of nights. Craig's father's death derailed his plans. Made him change jobs and forced him to move in with his mom. He took a job to be closer to her home so he could help her out. That job he took was a the school where we met.
And if we had never met there would be no Natalie.
It's a strange thought to me....Craig's life before his father's death. What was Craig like? Was he so fiercely independent and did he brush things off his shoulder so easily? I don't know who Craig was before all this happened. Another strange thought? Although his father's life ended, there is a new little person out in this world walking around with 1/4 his DNA.
As it was in the beginning and ever will be.........life moves on. We pick up the pieces and carry on.
We dread September 19th and then we get through the day with a few more meaningful glances and a sad smile here or there; then we go to bed at night with our hearts heavy and the stillness is suffocating.
Life with Natalie is tinged with a bit of sorrow for Craig. Christmases....birthdays....and all the important milestones that come along with raising a child. I can catch a glimpse of Craig here and there and see the distant look in his face or the heartache stitched across his smile. It's always there. The little reminders of who ISN'T there even when the room is crowded with family and friends all gathered for a joyous occasion.
So it's been a heavy week in addition to all the other insanity that has been thrown our way recently.
But I'm good.
I'm solid and stable.
I'm focused and not foggy.
I'm present in my family's life and able to carry as much of the weight as I can.
This is something for which I am immensely thankful.
Life isn't pretty. It's messy and complicated and full of beauty and brutality.
But we move forward.