What to say, what to say…

“How are you doing?”

I’m lousy at answering that question these days.  I don’t mind anyone asking it.  I’d probably ask it of someone else in our situation, too.  It’s just that I have a hard time answering.  I understand the question, and I know where it comes from.  People genuinely want to know what the latest is with us.  People care.  And it’s also the question we tend to ask when we don’t know what else to say.  I totally get that.  It’s hard to know what to say to people who have experienced – are experiencing – great loss.

But I don’t think I’ve answered the question all that well to anyone that’s asked.  I’ve definitely not answered it the same way twice.  Maybe the real answer is – “I don’t know.”

Because in a typical hour, here’s what I find myself doing:

-Thinking about Susan almost all the time

-Wondering what I’m going to make for dinner

-Trying to manage my time so that I get everything done that I need to get done

-Before 2pm, of course, when the kids get off the bus

-Listening to a song we used to love together

-Realizing that the stuff I left in the kitchen rushing around to get the kids on the bus is still there, and that it’s not going anywhere until I deal with it (and also realizing this is another reminder of how much I miss her – not that I miss her picking up after me, but more the partnership we had and the feeling that someone else was here too)

-Deciding how and when I’m going to guard my writing time today

-Thinking about what’s next for LKN Church and how to get done what I need to get done

-Seeing a hundred – no, a thousand – reminders of Susan that sometimes feel like little knife wounds all over

-Remembering that God is here, even in the middle of this, and reflecting on that

-Getting distracted by a YouTube video – (just happened, this time it was “When I Get Where I’m Going” by Brad Paisley – I’m into sappy stuff these days)

-Wondering what she’s doing right now.  What’s she thinking?  Feeling?  Experiencing?  Does she think about us much?  Does she still look the same, or is that all different in heaven?  (And lots of other strange thoughts like that…)

-Reliving so many moments and memories from our life together

-Planning the next grocery trip

-Helping someone with their homework

-Worrying about whether the kids are going to get what they need from me

-Trying to trust that this is going to all work out

All of which makes it hard to answer the question.  So if I just say “I’m doing OK”, or “We’re getting by”…now you know what I’m really thinking.



6 Responses to “What to say, what to say…”

  1. Judith Bryant Says:

    So Well Said!

  2. Margaret O'Grady Says:

    Thank you for having the courage to share your thoughts and emotions exactly as they come to you. You certainly have the gift of communicating via the written word. Those of us who are following your story and living this life on earth in preparation for the next have a unique opportunity to learn from you on a topic that is rarely discussed, but one that we will all experience at some point in our lives. Thank you for reminding us that grieving is part of our journey here on this earth, and it’s a personal one, but one that we never travel through alone. I have been told that God will not let something bad happen unless something good can come from it. I am sorry for your loss, but thankful that Susan had a husband who loved and treasured her, and that your children will be loved and guided by a faith filled man with so many gifts to share with them. I will keep all of you in my prayers.

  3. Lynn Says:

    You have really captured with your words what so many of us who are travelling this road are feeling! I remember one evening seeing a cracker on the floor under one of my children’s chairs and how devastated I suddenly felt. It hit me that that cracker was going to stay there forever unless I picked it up. Our team of two was down to one player and it was always going to be my turn at bat. I felt so overwhelmed by loss and sorrow, so alone. I remember feeling that same breathtaking punch in the gut over and over during the weeks after my husband died. And although there have been times I have hated, truly hated, having to walk this path I am constantly amazed and awed and thankful beyond words that our Father God has walked every step with us and before us. I see His provision and protection and love, deep overflowing love, which has surrounded me and our children. I know you are feeling that too, even through indescribable pain. Thank you for sharing from your heart and for being real.

  4. John Says:

    Thanks Jerel.

  5. Kathryn Dickerson Says:

    Can I borrow this? As you can imagine, I’m at a bit of a loss as to answer this question as well. As always, you are so eloquent and capture the emotions so completely. I can certainly imagine you as an author.

  6. Charlotte Lennartz Says:

    Way to be real – we love you.

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