The subject line said simply, mom. The late afternoon e-mail from my youngest brother could have been about our mother or his mother-in-law, both of whom are fragile. Since the law of threes is one away from being fulfilled, I expected the news to be bad. What I didn't expect was the feeling of almost overwhelming irritation that swooped in when the news involved social services, an insurance company, and a time limit, all of which required my attention because I hold the PoA for our mom. Mom was fine, but that didn't make me feel any better.
I went to bed fuming, just a couple of notches away from ranting and raving, and completely puzzled about why the feelings were so strong over something that, at the most, a month ago would have elicited a shake of my head and a rueful grin at the way my baby brother operates.
Sleep managed to overcome my state, until the phone rang at 2:00 A.M. The voice saying it was a wrong number was not that of a stranger, but that of my cousin who hung up before I could ask what was wrong. I thought about calling her back, but didn't want to wake up any more than necessary, so instead spent the rest of the night tossing and turning, falling back to sleep just before my alarm went off at 4:30.
I stayed in bed, settled into real sleep, until the phone rang at 5:30, and rang and rang and rang. So I stumbled into the kitchen to hear a recording tell me Walt had a late start today. When I found him outside and told him about the call, he looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. When irritation found its way to my voice and I mentioned I'd hoped to get some sleep, I got the same blank look. When I took a breath, and was just an exhale from making everything his fault, he took me in his arms and just held me.
A few minutes later as I sat here reading a second no-more-helpful e-mail from my brother, hearing Walt rummage in a drawer for a thing he'd put there himself, listening to cats yeow and Toby demand attention - and wanting to scream at all of them to shut the f***k up and leave me in peace, I realized the problem wasn't with any of them. In fact that was a pretty normal morning for us. The only not normal event was the way I was feeling.
Then I received an email from my friend Jan who often sends me links to amazing blogs. The one she sent me today was nothing short of miraculous. Jen Gray talks about grief, applying her own experience to the Kubler-Ross stages. It was what she said about the anger stage that went straight to my soul: I would have to say Im more irritated and impatient than angry.Not so tolerant of things that normally would roll off my back.
And then the rains came. Somehow seeing those words, understanding that I've just found myself in a new room of this house called grief, broke my heart all over again. It was like all the prickliness of the previous hours left me more vulnerable than before. A vulnerability that was held and honored by messages from friends (and my sweet husband), a series of surprise gifts of love spread over the morning, from people who couldn't have known their words were exactly what I needed today.
This storm has blown over, leaving me tired, beyond tired, and for the moment at least, free of irritation. Feeling sad, not just for my loss, but for all the senseless loss that seems so abundant right now. And feeling more certain than ever that love will win in the end. That love does in fact win every single time one person opens her heart, every time one person returns unkindness with a gentle hug, every time a choice is made for peace.