Utter and complete exhaustion. Headaches. Emotional roller coaster. Constant company. Unending phone calls. Late, LATE nights. Details, details, details. And this for FOUR DAYS STRAIGHT!!!!! Finally, today it all came crashing down onto my body and basically CRUSHED me. I woke up this morning at 10:15 (what?!) and had a sore throat, swollen and tender lymph nodes, another headache, all-over body aches, and chills. I felt like I had taken a bottle of Benadryl before bed last night, but I had taken nothing at all. Bleh.
And Gabriel was feeling it, too. He had been awake off and on all night (with Paul) and was still asleep when I got up. So weird. I got on the couch with a cozy fleece blanket and promptly fell right back asleep. It was during this time that Gabriel awoke, but he felt so bad that Paul put him back down, and he was O-U-T until 3:30 p.m.!! He's a sick, little fella. I'm thinking we may have another ear infection on our hands after all (even though he checked out fine on Tuesday). Needless to say, our little family missed church. I hate that, especially on Resurrection Sunday.
Today was rainy and dreary and gray and achy and lonely and empty and still exhausting.
I wanted to share with you how everything turned out for Nana's memorial service. We spent all day Wednesday entertaining friends and family and then all that evening tearing her room apart trying to find SOMEthing--ANYthing--that would give us some indication of what she would have wanted done for her service. Poppy finally found something LATE that night that she had written not long after she had been diagnosed (in the summer of 2006). And just in time, too, because we had to meet with the funeral home at 1:00 the next day. Have y'all ever had to do such a thing? If not, let me tell you, it's hard, hard. There are SO very many decisions to be made, so much to think about and to consider, and it takes a lot longer than you would imagine. After spending all day there and then dropping by the flower shop to pick something out, we still had to get home and start to work on all the other details.
- finding lyrics and music (chord charts) for the songs she wanted
- sorting through and scanning photos
- lining up child care
- tying up loose ends (from our regular lives)
- contacting people (pall bearers, speakers, pastor, funeral director, etc.)
- determining the order of service
- returning phone calls
- and on and on
I was so overwhelmed! All I could think was that we needed about 5 more days to pull this thing off! Friday I had to go back to MY home and find some clothes (non-sweats) and get my china packed up for the tea I wrote about here. My dear friend Spring agreed to come get it and transport it to the event location for me, which helped me out tremendously! I can't even tell you! Visitation was that evening. My friend Krista and her husband came and stayed with our little ones at Nana and Poppy's house during visitation and THEN took Noah and Saylor home with them to spend the night. What a load off!! What amazing, wonderful friends they have been to us!!
Visitation itself was emotionally draining. Afterward, I just wanted to curl up in bed, but no, no, no! There was so much more still yet to do. Paul, Mert (our brother-in-law), and I stayed up until 5:00 a.m. working on a video. I didn't think we'd EVER get it finished the way we wanted it. Oh, technical problems have a way of sending people over the edge, don't they? Ugh. But we persevered. And kudos to Mert who kept trucking on with the most cheerful attitude!
Saturday (my little Noah's birthday) was the day we held the memorial service. Thankfully, since Krista was bringing our two oldest kiddos, I only had TWO little ones to get ready, which on THAT day was about all the craziness I could handle. (Gabriel had been BESIDE himself since arriving on Wednesday...because he didn't feel well...AND he always just senses when things are not right. Changing the routine on him always throws him for a loop.) Nana wanted me to sing, so of course, my throat started hurting when I woke up Saturday morning. Altoids to the rescue! I was a nervous wreck because I didn't know for SURE that our video was going to work on the church's system (Paul left early to go work that all out, but I hadn't heard from him). Krista and the kids got caught in bad traffic, so I was anxious about THEM getting there. Atticus didn't have any pants (seriously) because I hadn't had time to find any (for his Easter outfit), so my mom had to go to Kohl's that morning and find him something and then meet me in front of the church so we could get Atticus dressed. (good grief) I'm surprised I didn't look like a "Troll" doll by the time it was all said and done.
This all sounds so very whiny. I hate to do that. But I DO want to tell you exactly how it was, because truthfully, I had NO idea. I had NO clue it was this way for people. And the thing is, all any of us wanted to do was to sit and be still and think and FEEL and cry and talk and begin dealing with it. There was just no time! It's really pretty backwards how we handle this stuff in our country. ANY-way...all the company is gone now, our bodies (at least mine, Paul's and Gabe's) are reacting to the punishment they've endured over the past few days, and we're left with a new reality that we are all expected to figure out and accept as everyday normalcy. I'll never forget as we stood by the casket at the graveside and every one had already driven off in their cars, Poppy looked at us all and said, "Now what?" And no one knows. We're just sort of here, experiencing perhaps SOME of what it's like to be bipolar. Crazy laughing one moment, crazy crying the next, and really not fully grasping the fact that she's really NOT HERE anymore. What DO we do now?! My heart is just broken for Paul and Wendy (Paul's sister) because this is their MOM we're talking about, but she was so much more than even that. She was SOMEbody to SO many people. So..."Now what?"
My friend Janet died from cancer a year and a half ago. In a sense, her death sort of prepared me a little bit for what I would experience NOW. I sang at Janet's funeral, too, which was one of the hardest things I'd ever done, but looking back I think it helped me face this even harder challenge. Her memorial service was deeply moving and well-thought-out, and even then her life made me think of Nana. There were similarities there. They both had a strong faith in God, husbands who came to know the Lord much later in life, two children (a boy and a girl), cancer, an infectious smile and joy for living. Paul and I were both very impressed with the video someone had done set to one of my favorite songs. So, of course, we both immediately wanted to do the very same thing for Nana. Same idea, same song...because it was perfect.
One little thing I just had to point out...Paul got to the church to check the video, etc. and noticed that directly over the baptistry (which is where the overhead screen comes down) were the words "I AM." That gave me chills.