What Matters

The alarm rings at 5:00.  I can’t believe it has already been 5 1/2 hours…and I promise myself that tonight, I will get to bed at a decent hour.  Just like I promised myself yesterday at 5:00am when I woke up too tired.  And then I know, that is just not likely to happen.  And I also know, that 5:00 is not a good time to wake up.  But nonetheless, I get out of bed, throw a clip in my hair, and head down for the coffee.

Why is it freezing down here again? I wonder.  I look at the thermostat, clutching the hot cup in my hands.  64.  Sheesh…  I wrap up in the blanket, pull on my hoodie and hunker down with my laptop.

An hour and a half flies by.  William comes down.  Today is his birthday.  He snuggles up next to me and smiles and enjoys having this day that lies ahead.

As the other littles make their way down to have breakfast with The Man, I shower.

I pack up the cupcakes for William’s class.

I zip up their coats, double check homework, library books, snacks, water bottles, kisses, hugs, and send them off.

I throw in a load of laundry.

Help Henry with his homework.

Get Ella dressed.

Make lunch for Henry and Ella.

I get Henry on the bus to school.

Play a game of matching cards with Ella.  I pretty much played by myself again.  She gets caught up in the matches and organizing them and such.

Today, we nap together, Ella and me.  I am just that tired.  I wake up before she does, and take a few minutes to watch her sleep.  I lose my breath, every time.   

Before she wakes up, I have enough time to enter a few things on our tax return, get the mail, and take a few slurps of bitter, warmed up coffee. 

I clean the counters and the island.  I notice that the microwave is full of fingerprints.  I clean that, too.  I love the shiney.  I do not love the fingerprinty.

And I wait for them to come home. 

We will do homework, William will open his birthday gifts, we will go to CCD.  We will have tacos for supper. 

This day is normal.  It is slow.  It is comfortable.   It is routine.  When they get home, I will be here, just like always.  There is food for supper, just like always.  Together.  We will be together.  Just like always.

Then, twisting my wedding ring as I do when I think, I am reminded of her. 

Yesterday she only spoke once.  She asked for her wedding ring.  It kept falling off of her finger because she is so skinny, so they put it on her thumb.  That seemed to please her. *

Stage four.

Hospice.

…last days as comfortable as possible…

It’s hard to understand.  Maybe because I remember how she was when she was 17.  Maybe because the only way I can remember her is laughing.  Maybe because we are the same age, and I am forced to think about my own finitude. 

I think that she would probably give anything to have a day like this.  A normal day of doing laundry and cooking and cleaning and being together.  A day of hugging her children, or telling them she loves them, or helping with homework, or playing a game with them.  Of watching them sleep, and breathing in their scent.  Of celebrating their special days.  And of hearing the garage door open when her husband gets home, and hearing her children say Daddy!”

But she has already said goodbye. 

And I am left believing this abiding truth:  that in the end, it is the little things that matter.  Like knowing that you are wearing your wedding ring.  That you are loved, deeply.  And that you loved, deeply. 

They surround her now, her loved ones.  And with a deep sorrow, quietly wait for gossamer wings to carry her away.

———-

*written by someone close to me, about someone close to her.

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What Matters

14 thoughts on “What Matters

  1. Oh, Kristen. You know the tears are flowing. What a beautiful post. What a beautiful tribute to her. But also what a beautiful tribute to motherhood and family and to what really matters.

    I heart you.

  2. Mom says:

    Thank God for the everyday things. Please, please appreciate them. The mind numbingness, the frustration, the boredom…along with the pure joy… it’s what our lives are about. And how I miss those days. I envy you.

    We will remember her.

  3. I love the quote “Life is not measure by the number of breaths you take, but rather by the number of moments that take your breath away.” – but finding the real moments that will take your breath away is the true treasure.

    Thank-you for this reminder today, prayers for your friend and her family.

  4. Toni :O) says:

    Wow….you have such talent with words my friend….thanks for making me take a step back. I hope you have a great weekend and that William had a wonderful birthday. I hear ya about 5 a.m. I’m up just after that to work out and it’s HARD! I’m beginning to LOVE a 10 p.m. bedtime..makes it a bit easier. Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Your words are so beautiful and spoke directly to my heart. I’ve been stuck, so thank you for the reminder that each “routine” day is really a true gift.

  6. Oh. So good to read and remember.
    I had a friend in college who died today.
    Her name was Penny.
    We were not close any longer as
    years and changes have kept us apart.
    I still hurt for the loss of her though.
    Deeply hurt.

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