It's interesting to me that many of the months of this year settle themselves in my memory with their own theme.
February - that's the month i went back to work--or the kind of work where you do it for someone else's benefit, and they give you money, work.
April - that's the month i got to go see my family in Michigan, for free.
July - that's the month my cat tried to burn the house down, but succeeded in only scorching the bathroom.
August is when we lived in a scorched bathroom and learned a little about making claims on your homeowners insurance.
September - that's the month that the super husband and i were separated more than ever before in our marriage - the entire month, excluding some weekends. Plus, i was relegated to living with generous strangers since my scorched bathroom was missing. (Upon re-reading, i should clarify that we were separated because he had to leave town for work - not because we were "separated.")
October - that's the month that was consumed by the need to finish the bathroom so we could shower in our own home.
Then there's November.
November was going to be the month that we got back to normal living and showering in our own home.
But it became more than that - full of emotions i won't have words for, even in my wordy blathering here on my blog.
The first week of November, we were (no, we really were this time) bringing the building of the hardest-shower-in-the-world-to-tile to a beautifully tiled close. The weekend of Veteran's Day was our big push. No rest until we shower. We couildn't believe our own eyes when my super hero tiling husband finally laid the very last tile. And then we started grouting, which i apparently have a nack for. ( Did i spell "nack" right?) I grouted. The super plumber, plumbed. It was coming together.
I was looking forward to posting the pictures of my fully completed (it was just almost done) shower on facebook, but on Saturday morning, i got the phone call that i've kind of expected for a couple of years - but that i didn't know how to prepare for. My grandmother, Emmy Pilman, after having appeared to recover beautifully from surgery the night before, had died quickly, early in the morning, on September the 12th.
I never knew how i would respond when that happened. I've never really grieved the death of a loved one before. I was happy that it was my mom who called because unlike my dad (and me), my mom has the ability to say things like, "Your Mormor has gone to Heaven," without immediately bursting into tears. It was only a few minutes before she had me laughing, imagining Mormor in Heaven making Swedish Pancakes for Jesus. I couldn't help being immediately so happy for my beautiful grandmother, who had been suffering from Dementia for too many years. And so grateful to God that i had followed the urgency in my heart to make sure nothing got in the way of that trip to Michigan in April.
I actually made it a condition of my job offer in February. I knew i had to be able to take this trip. It was too important. And because of that i have the most warming memory. When we went to visit Mormor in the nursing home, the staff gave us the use of a private room with a big, round, normal looking dining table, with normal homey decorations, and we sat together, Mormor and Morfar, Mom and Dad, and me, and we ate together. There was even a big fat cat in the room, begging for scraps. It was perfect.
What surprises me about grief, is that even though i'm happy for her, and even though i feel like i got to say all the goodbyes, and even though it's definitely better that she is with Jesus now . . . i still cry every time i think about her being gone. I didn't know i would do that. I have yet to tell any of my co-workers about her death because i know i can't say the words out loud without bursting into tears. And i'm not even sure what i'm crying about.
After learning of Mormor's death, we finished the bathroom. No pictures on facebook -- i wasn't in the mood. But it was a great distraction. Painting and decorating and whatnot are great distractions from grief.
Mormor's memorial was scheduled for the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I wasn't going to be able to make it.
About the same time that we started showering in our bathroom, my dear chicken friend called and offered me four beautiful hens to add to my sad, tiny flock of two, and i was and am so grateful! Happy chickens are a wonderful thing, and my rooster is one happy chicken. :) The routine of chickens is good for me too. Locking them up each night; letting them out each morning; something about that simple schedule gives me motivation to start the day sometimes.
With Mormor's memorial being two whole weeks after her death, i had a lot of time to think about her life. Even though i couldn't go to the memorial, i wanted to send something to share, and since i know how to write better than talk, that worked out. Just by considering her life, more deeply than i ever did while she was alive, i learned things about her that had never crossed my mind. And i loved her even more. I sent my mom and email about what i had learned and about the legacy my beautiful grandmother left for us, and she read it for me at the memorial.
I got a new (to me) couch on Sunday. It looks pretty good. It's a nice change.
Oh, and Thanksgiving was fine . . . fairly normalish. My husband won the family poker game (a Rogers family tradition).
And now it's December.
Please be nice to me, December. I think i'm still reeling from November.
At least i don't have to leave the house to shower.