My grandma died last week. It was as sudden as it can be, when someone is 86 years old and hasn’t really been in the best health for the past couple of years. I should have been expecting it, but I wasn’t. It prompted a very quick, unscheduled four-day trip, where we were able to celebrate her life with cherished relatives, and soak up family time with my siblings that we weren’t expecting to have. The whole thing has been a classic, textbook picture of bittersweet.
We missed work and school and today we have to jump back into that unrelenting current of life. I’ve already done two loads of laundry and my grocery list is ready. My girls told me that all their homework was in their backpacks this morning, but they also told me that last week when we left at four in the morning for our trip, and it wasn’t then. They’re at school now, so I’ll find out later if a rogue worksheet somehow got shoved under the bed instead of into the correct folder.
We’re plunging into our routine, but everything is different. What strikes me the most, though, is how it’s not different for everyone else. They’ve all carried on with their lives, going to school and work and church and get-togethers, while our life was put on hold. And we’re trying to pick back up where we left off, but everything looks so different.
On August 21st, I got to witness a 92% eclipse of the sun. I thought it would get a lot darker, but the sun is strong and you still needed sunglasses if you were just going about your day. But if you really thought about it, the light was either dimmer or a different color, and the air was definitely cooler. Maybe someone was living under a rock and had no idea there was an eclipse going on, so maybe they didn’t even notice that things were different, But they were, especially if you knew to look for it.
Obviously my family isn’t the only one to experience a death of a loved one. People do every day. It’s just been a long while since someone close to me has died. And everything looks different for me. Our routine will be the same, but somehow it just feels different. I know that soon I won’t even notice the differences anymore, because the new light and feel will be my forever normal. But for today, it feels foreign and weird, and all I can do is watch the people around me, shocked that they don’t see that things don’t look like they did a week ago.
I have no conclusions to these thoughts. And maybe that’s just part of the differences, too.