Over Is Hard

Dad is over for the rest of my life, mom, and I am only 13.

The feeling that nothing will ever be okay again has begun to wear on us. The world feels tasteless.  It’s Over, the tasteless color of grief.

As a mother, everything I think of to say has become a thought-terminating cliché. There is nothing left to say. Together, Cole and I face the reality that his dad died and there is nothing that will fill the void of longing for those five more minutes or thirty more years. There are no do-overs.  It sucks.

Being “a family of three,” as Cole called it, is over.

Only Joe could talk endlessly with Cole about an episode of The Office.  It’s Over.

This past January, skiing, sledding, and planning Joe’s Ribs for Super Bowl Sunday have all fallen flat.Those familiar moments as Cole has always known them and as I have always appreciated them are Over.

Joe’s birthday is February 20th. He won’t turn 53. It’s Over.

Our world feels depopulated without Joe.

Over is hard.  Sometimes, really hard. How do we do manage daily do-overs without Joe?

We laugh a lot – mostly at Joe’s expense. He is, after all, the one who died.

We are honest. Not everything would be better if Joe were here.  Joe would have been mad at me for helping Cole “SO MUCH WITH HIS HOMEWORK” and would have been mad at Cole for not looking forward to tomorrow’s school day.  Tonight was easier without Joe. We just wish he could have been at his acting class instead of hanging out on a cloud.

We talk. We talk a lot about Joe. We tell stories. We like it when you tell stories.

I write. And here you thought I was writing this for you.

We take the quick fix sometimes. Buying, doing, or going someplace helps. Sometimes all you need is a quick fix to help move you forward. Cole’s “Lucky Jeans” were the result of a quick fix. I take delight in knowing Joe is turning over in his urn at the cost of those jeans. (Three pairs, Joe!)

We spend a lot of time stopping. Rather than wasting energy idling, we just stop, crawl into the big chair and cry. Sometimes we swear, and often we express bewilderment.

I worry all the time, though I don’t worry about worrying. My husband died in the shower without a moment’s notice. I can worry if I want to.

We let other people help us feel better.  Grieving is not a sickness, it’s a process.  It’s perfectly possible for other people to lift our spirits, make us smile, and kiss it and make it go away for the moment. We welcome hugs and brownies equally.  Remember, we may need do-overs (especially with the brownies).

We include Joe in our lives. In fact, I probably listen to him now more than I ever did when he was alive. Dying has given his opinion more credibility. He probably suspected it would. However, I take great delight in doing, without hesitation, some of the things he hated like hammering a nail without a plan, putting the large mixing spoon in the dishwasher, and jumping into my car and immediately cranking the heat up to full power. Sometimes I turn on the garbage disposal and let it run just for spite. Joe was always a little afraid of the garbage disposal – some family myth about a food trap.

On the second day of each month, I ask Joe if he has anything he would like to contribute to my Odd musings.  Lately, he has been very present but oddly quiet. I suspect he despairs at Cole’s feelings of loss, sharing my sense of helplessness.  However, when a sign was not forthcoming, I went straight to ITunes and bought the song, Knock Knock Knocking on Heavens Door.  I played it loud.

Joe, it’s not over.

Glad you were in my Odd neighborhood. Feel free to drop by any time. Odd Loves Company and odd loves you and you and you!! I would love to hear from you in the comment section of this blog, or on Facebook or Twitter!


PS: Since writing this yesterday. I have heard the song Knocking On Heavens Door twice and Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head once. Today when I came home there was a printer flier hanging on my front door from Joe the handyman. The tag line read “Feeling Overwhelmed, Joe is just around the corner.”

14 thoughts on “Over Is Hard

  1. I will read this 100 times, and love every word, every time I do. How many times I think, “why Joe?” “why Katybeth, why Cole?” There has never been an answer…I will keep asking the questions…. Done is too hard to comprehend….
    I love you guys, I loved Joe

  2. No effing WAY about that handyman!!!!!!!!!!!
    OMG this was your best blog yet. Right when I was about to be so mad at you for making me weep so much, I laughed out loud.

  3. I love that you do this.
    I love that you are so open with your experience.
    I love Joey.
    I miss him.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Sending BIG virtual hugs (and a big brownie platter 🙂 )

  4. Dear Cousin—
    I asked you to take a look at the Superbowl Sandwich Post– figured you could be helpful about the meaning of “coarsely chopped ” I mentioned nothing at all about this post—and NO the large spoon is metal. The wooden one is the one I use to threaten my pups (never hit–only threaten)

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