Next month, it will be the three year anniversary of my dad’s death. July marks the five year anniversary of my mom’s death. While time has healed, there are still moments when the pain feels fresh like a newly skinned knee.
I’m not sure if it was just the combination of a lot of things or not, but this morning was a tough morning for me. I dragged myself out of bed and ran six miles, feeling as if I had expended all of the energy I had by the time I walked back up to my front door.
When I walked back into the house, it was still quiet. This “spring ahead” thing is tough on kids (and their parents). I wanted nothing more than to just go back to bed, but I went through the motions of my daily routine. After going to the bus stop with my boys, laying in bed with my daughter watching the Disney Channel, and doing my best to muster up enough energy to move ahead with my day, I finally got out the door.
I’ve saved four voicemails in my cell phone. Two of them are from my mom and two of them are from my dad. There are days that I just need to hear their voices. Their statements are comforting to me and hearing the words “see you soon” always both break and warm my heart simultaneously. It was to those voicemails that I went as I drove to Starbucks this morning.
The messages don’t do the same thing to me that they once did when the pain and hurt was really fresh. I think I’ve come to a place where they actually bring me more hope now than they do despair. The inflections of words, the emotion in my parents’ voices, the love that they shared, all of those things are evidenced within just a few sentences left on a voicemail.
The messages were over and I switched back to listening to music in the car. As I pulled into the parking lot of Stabucks, the song “Cinderella” came on. I don’t think that I fully appreciated that song until I had a daughter. We’ve danced to it a time or two, but just like those voicemails, that song has the ability to rip my heart right out of my chest as I imagine my four year old daughter grown up and me walking her down the aisle on her wedding day.
As the song ended, I just sat there in my car. My eyes were dry, but my heart was aching. Within twenty minute period, I had experienced a swath of emotions. Up, down, all around. To top it off, it’s a rainy day and a Monday. Karen Carpenter sang it well, “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” I took to social media and proclaimed that while rainy days and Mondays might get you down, what happens when you have rainy day Mondays?
Within a half an hour, I was cranking along. That’s the nature of the beast, the further away from the situation I get, the better my recovery time.
As I sat in Starbucks listening to the clanking of equipment and the banter of the baristas and patrons around me, I couldn’t help but smile. The rainy days always seem to make the sunny days brighter. The chilly days always seem to make the warmth strike me just a little deeper than before. The moments of pain somehow seem to make the moments of joy last that much longer.
Sure, there’s still pain, there’s still grief, and there’s even still the occasional tears, but the hope that I hold onto in those moments will sustain me and carry me on. Rainy days and Mondays might get me down, but they also help me prepare for what’s ahead, and thinking about that, I just can’t help myself from smiling!