For years, Momma has used journals to keep notes and records at work. Before your death these were never plain old journals, they were always works of creativity and art. Usually plastered with drawings inspired by favorite artists, songs, etc. and often with wide open pages, free of lines and boundaries. In the years before you died my preferred journals were inspired by George Rodrigue, and came to be an inside joke with Momma's team. Lately - meaning, since January 26, 2011 - Momma's journals have been plain black with lined paper. Not out of thoughtful intention…maybe.
Earlier today Momma started cleaning out her bookshelf at the office. Too many books + too much stuff escalated the need to purge. As I came to my journal storage shelf there was a moment of unexpected joy - what is this?! An empty journal? And a Rodrigue Blue Dog journal, no less???
Then I turned to the first few pages. While 98% of the journal was indeed empty, it turns out this was the one Momma purchased for 2011. A forgotten journal, thanks to a stark, black journal labeled "2011" that sits on Momma's shelf. But, that one wasn't started until April of 2011. This sad, almost empty Blue Dog was started in the first weeks of January and is full of notes and plans for the year ahead. The first six pages are jam-packed with ideas and enthusiasm. Momma turned to page 6, and caught her breath. There it was. January 25, 2011. Team meeting notes. A to-do list for the next day. For January 26. A to-do list that never got done.
Every page after that is blank. Somehow, so completely appropriate. Life Before Connor. Life After Connor. A reminder that just like that, poof! in a moment, everything you know to be true in this world changes.
After a brief panic attack, followed by a brisk cross-campus walk, Momma made a decision. End the day early. Make no big decisions today. And be unapologetic about it. Go to the bookstore and surround yourself with the joys of reading. And so I did. The moment Momma walked into the bookstore what did I see? A Rodrigue 2014 calendar. It is now sitting in a bag on the kitchen table, patiently waiting for 2014 to arrive.
Today was a wake-up call. A reminder the grief, like life, is a journey - not a destination. It is neither long nor short. It simply is what it is.
Today I chose joy in the midst of this wave of grief. Somedays I choose joy thanks to the sun. Somedays I choose joy because the alternative is just too painful. Today is one of those days.
The almost empty Blue Dog journal came home with Momma today. It will be placed in your special Peanut storage trunk - the place where all the happy reminders of you are stored.
Peanut, please know I think of you every moment of every day. And I love you. To the moon - and back!
|Taken on January 20, 2011.|