The hard days

The thing about grief is that sometimes it just hits you out of nowhere. Yesterday was such a great day. I really enjoyed spending time in my sister’s kitchen making blagenda. It was a happy day full of laughter. I thought about Paul throughout the day, but I always do. I know it’s been a year and a half since he died but he’s always on my mind on some level. Thankfully, it’s mostly happy memories these days.

My bad day started this morning, though it started good. No, it started great! You see, my friend’s husband heard that I was going for a morning run and had his wife ask if he could join me. (Since I had only met him for about three seconds once over the summer, I was surprised for the ask, but more than happy to oblige.)

I left my sister’s house and ran about three blocks to pick up my running partner then the two of us continued on a five-mile run—chatting along the way. It was enjoyable and it reminded me of the runs Paul and I would do around my homeland. After leaving my running partner at his doorstep, I ran the three blocks back to my sister’s. At some point, it dawned on me that today was the first time I’d run with another adult since Paul died.

That fact didn’t bother me for the first few minutes, but all of the sudden it was making me sad. But it wasn’t enough to ruin my day.

Then, I went up to the cemetery to leave some potted roses for Paul and my grandparents. As I pulled up I could feel myself getting more emotional than normal. I put it down to the time of year. With Thanksgiving just around the corner and what would have been Paul’s 49th birthday two days later, I am certainly missing him more right now.

And then I noticed that the cards I’d left for Paul in a little flower box were gone. There should have been three cards: Last year’s birthday card, a Christmas card, and a Valentine’s Day card. But they were gone. And I lost it. I just couldn’t imagine that someone would take Paul’s card. I mean, the sea shell I brought back from Seaton Carew last month was still there, but the cards were gone. They weren’t in the way and in fact were nestled and almost hidden in the little flower box. But now they’re gone.

Anyhow, seeing that completely ruined my day. I sat there sobbing and had the hardest time regaining composure. When I was finally ready to return to the car, the tears came again. I just wanted to sit and cry forever but I had to go pick up my foster daughter for our four-hour drive home. And it was such a hard drive because I was still upset but I couldn’t show it.

And I’m still upset now. Only I don’t know if it’s actually the cards or something else. I just know that it’s made me so very sad. And it came so out of the blue.

Yes, I hate days like this. I hate that I can be floating along in a good-enough state for days and then I crash. And I don’t know what will trigger it and I don’t know how to make it stop.

I guess the good side is that days like this are becoming fewer and there are more good days in between.

Now I find myself wondering if there is somewhere else I can stash cards for Paul because I can’t not give him a birthday card…

8 Replies to “The hard days”

  1. i don’t know what to say except i read what you wrote.
    (Wee Guy is reading a book on spying – he would probably suggest that you and Paul need a new drop for your messages – i’ll ask him for some ideas when he’s home from school)

    1. A while ago as I sat there talking to Paul I thought it would be great to have a little metal box that I could place/hide under the sod but I worried that it would be noticeable. But maybe if I buried something in between his and my grandparents’ headstones underneath the little flower planter my daddy made that would work. It’s not that I need to leave things up there—and I’m not one to completely adorn graves with kitsch—but sometimes I just really want to leave a card.
      Any great spy techniques the Wee Guy can share will be welcome!

      1. I know it must be rough some days… although I know (fingers-crossed) that I am going to see Jimmy again, sometimes missing him as much as I do makes me feel like I am grieving for him. And I guess in a way I am, grieving all this lost time we could of been together. But having people to talk to and having an outlet to put into words how you feel helps. AND maybe knowing that all your ups and downs and your highs and lows help me get through my days too might help. You help me feel normal. You help me so much. I know I’ve told you this before but you inspire me and make me realize that even when life deals you the worst blows possible one can still find hope, still have dreams and still have goals to reach. Thanks Frances, for just being the incredible person you are. HUGS!!!
        By the way, I think a hidden compartment in a flower box would do nicely!

  2. Your other option is perhaps a special box back home with you in your and Paul’s home? I know it’s not at his grave, but maybe that’s where you leave special things, like the shell from Seaton Carew, and growing gifts of love, like the roses. Is there somewhere at home you know Paul would keep his special cards and thoughts from you?
    I’m really sorry you had such a horrible day. I don’t have anything like the same as you to deal with but I know how hard it can hit and how much worse it can be when it comes out of an otherwise ok day or week.
    Like big sis, all I can say is, I see what you’ve written and I wish I could give you a huge hug just now. This metaphysical one will need to do instead for now. I’ll save some big warm fluffy ones up for when I see you next.
    Take care of yourself

    1. I have a journal at home that I write to Paul in. I think I just felt compelled to leave cards a couple of times. I would never leave behind ’emotionally sensitive’ notes, so it’s not that big of a deal that they were gone. In fact, they’re been times when I thought I’d toss them out in the past because they were looking tatty. I’m just hurt that someone else moved them. And maybe if I’d been in a better emotional place when I’d noticed it I wouldn’t have been upset.
      I can handle the grief most days (now) it really is so much harder when it comes from nowhere! Your metaphysical hugs help though. Thank you!!!

  3. I think I know where you can put them–I’ll check it out later in the week and let you know for sure.

  4. I know we are talking about Cle Elum, but here the caretakers will throw away a card if it’s no longer legible. If they didn’t, it would be a real mess on the grounds It also could have been an animal making it’s nest for the winter. I watched a squirrel tear a hole into a lawn chair and pull out the stuffing to make his nest here. They are pretty resourceful. I don’t know how it knew there was stuffing in there.
    People have no respect though. My grandmother was cremated and was placed in the bedroom of her home by my uncle because that’s where he felt she should be. Vandals broke in and stole the urn, so I have no idea where my grandmother rests today. My mom seemed upset by this despite the fact she refused to go to her funeral, that is, until I told her that they most likely dumped the ashes which is really the most fitting for her since she lived in the area all her life and was always driving all over it.
    We’ll just conclude in fairy tale land that Paul came and got the notes you left him. But a different hiding place is a great idea.

    1. I’d thought of that, but the groundskeepers are the city crew and really just mow the lawn in the summer and plow the roads in the winter. Plus, there are several other graves that are loaded with all sorts of rubbish that weren’t cleaned up.
      I’m able to console myself with the (possibly naive?) thought that it wasn’t malice and someone just thought they were helping.
      Really it’s ‘not that big of a deal’ and I’m sure if it happens again I’ll handle it better. I think it was just 1) the shock of seeing them gone and 2) the result of something else (the running maybe?) making my emotions more fragile that day. Because I’m sure Paul would say 1) ‘Why are you leaving a personal note to me in a public place?’ and 2) ‘It’s just a bit of paper, it’s OK.’
      But–wow!–it must have been hard to have your grandmother’s ashes stolen. But you’re right, they were probably dumped meaning that she was ‘still there’ even if you didn’t know exactly where.

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