I knew I'd be sad after Daddy's death. I knew I would cry when I walked in the house, and he wasn't there. I knew I'd be lonely and long for the sound of his voice, the feel of his large, strong hand in mine.
But I didn't expect the fatigue. The total exhaustion. When I wake up most mornings, I'm just as tired as I was when I went to bed; I had that same feeling the days before his death. If I get the chance, I try to take a nap in the afternoon or at least stretch out on the couch for a few minutes and rest. I snuggle with my favorite warm blanket and a pillow with a soft cotton case. They comfort me to some degree. But the nap really doesn't help. The phone rings, a text message pops up, someone needs me. And even if I do rest, I wake with the same tired, flu-like feeling across my chest and the feeling that I've wasted an hour that I could have been at the office or dealing with the paperwork that looms in front of me or helping my husband with some household chore.
I go through the day mechanically, methodically, doing chores, answering questions, answering the phone, making meals and doing my job. At work, I feel like I'm forcing myself to walk, dragging myself down the hall. There are breaks that energize me _ a sympathy card in the mailbox with a message from an old friend; a beautiful bouquet of flowers from co-workers who wanted to brighten my morning; and, today, an interview for a story I'm writing. Something normal. Normalcy is what I crave, although I don't know what normal is anymore.
I thought I'd have trouble sleeping at night. That my mind would wander, that I'd stay awake answering "what if" questions or rehashing the hours that followed Daddy's death. But that hasn't happened. I often fall asleep before I finish my nighttime prayer _ a prayer that I now struggle through because I pause when I get to the familiar, "God, bless Mama and Daddy." There's an empty spot that doesn't sound right without his name, so I continue to ask God's blessings on him.
And as hard as the grief is for me, it's even harder on my poor mother. She understands that he's dead, but she forgets why and gets angry with us when our answers don't satisfy her. She cries and needs comforting, needs someone to be strong, and all I want to do is snuggle beside her and hold her and let her comfort me. But it doesn't work that way anymore.