I'm not sure what I want to say. What is it, that is on my mind, wanting to be said, or maybe needing to be said, but is just a scrambled up, jumbled up, tangle of words that I'm not sure I can coherently express.
You would have thought, that I would be accustomed to being alone. After all, you spent more time out on the road hauling freight across the country than you did at home. You, yourself said that you didn't live here, you only visited. You were home one weekend a month. There was always way too much that needed to be done, and always only a part of it was accomplished. You wanted to rest and spend time with us as much as possible. You wanted to give attention and get attention. You wanted to annoy, to boss, to love. All too soon, it was time to pack up and load up your stuff into the truck. We would help you get everything ready, laundry washed, folded and packed up ready to go. Your groceries all in the car ready to take to the truck, coffee made, good-bye kisses, a last hug and that diesel engine would roar to life. I hated watching you leave, even as I did it nearly every chance I got. There were times that I couldn't watch, and I would come back to the house, just to stand on the porch and listen as you pulled away. The house would be so cold, so quiet, so empty, without you. In more ways than one, you filled this house. As soft spoken as you were, your voice when you wanted, would carry through the house and echo off the walls. You could be quiet as a mouse with laryngitis, or as noisy as a raging herd of elephants stampeding across sheets of bubble wrap. You could decide in the space of a heartbeat what you wanted to eat at home, and take what seemed like forever to decide if we went out, even though you should have known that menu by heart.
You would have thought, I would like the quiet. You would have thought but you and I would have both been wrong. This is a different quiet. This is a, he's not ever coming back, quiet. Its the quiet that says, get used to this, its your new normal. Never again, will there be laundry, groceries or anything else to do in preparation for leaving. Never again will we be greeting that big rig, Sweet Lady Green. The truck that carried you back and forth, the truck that carried you across the land, keeping you safe from elements, giving you a place to sleep, protecting you from unsavory folks, holding you, after you passed, until someone could come. Sweet Lady Green, who will not be back, because you won't be back. There's no one to argue with now over the television being on in the bedroom, when I'm needing to call it a night and you're not ready. How many nights, that I didn't have to worry over these things, but thought nothing of it, now, I do because now, its different. Now, you're not coming back.
I went out late this evening, just before it got too dark, just as the solar lights were coming on and wandered around the yard. I looked at the seeds that are coming up, wondering if they are flowers or weeds. I noticed that some of those pink ones that I planted years ago are blooming. I was happy to see them as I thought they had all died. I wandered around, looking, but not really seeing. Hoping that I didn't wander up on a snake. I didn't.
It just feels, empty. There's just something missing now, something so different. I keep trying to get past the feelings, but so far that hasn't been possible. They are always there, always with me, always ready to strike and remind me yet again, just how much I miss you. Every time I have to take a step, act on something, do something else that has to do with your passing, it is a reminder. I have made the appointment with the people to probate your will. Nice lady, was very encouraging, said that we could most probably do this easily without going through full probate since everything but your truck was in both names. I had heard some real horror stories, so the conversation was a great relief.
The quiet, is deafening. The silence, itself fills this place, silence echoes off the walls, and threatens to drown me.
But I'll sit in your chair, on the porch for a moment, I'll watch the lights and throw sticks for the dog. I'll listen to the critters of the night as they start moving. I'll think about you, about how you tried so hard to take care of us. I'll think about how you would push yourself beyond where you should, how you refused to even contemplate disability, how you fought, right up until the very end. You died, trying to provide for us. I get angry at myself for not being there for you. I get frustrated thinking that there should have been some way, some manner that we could have taken care of things, got things paid off, saved more, spent less. That there should have been something different, then maybe you would still be here, yawning way too loudly, pecking on the door frame, taking too long to order at the Cracker Barrel, asking the check out people at walmart to keep your cold stuff separate. But then, maybe, even if we had owned no one, even if we were totally debt free and retired and roaming, you would have still left as you did. All I can do, is trust in the Lord, is to know you are safe with Him and healthy once again.
I'll sit in the quiet, and I'll listen for the reassurance that will come from Him, that all will be well, just wait, believe and trust.