Do you have any blogs you read regularly – the kind of place you visit every few days, the kind of writer you consider a friend even though you’ve never met them in person? I have several, and it’s funny how I begin to notice when they haven’t written in awhile. I try not to worry, not to wonder what is keeping them away from the keyboard. I know people get busy, or sometimes get a case of writer’s block, but still I worry. I leave a second comment, or send an email. I feel relief when they post again. I have friends in various places around the world that I connect with over Instagram, and when they are quiet for awhile I notice that too. Then a photo will appear. I comment – hello – I’ve missed you – glad to see you are doing well.
What a funny little web of connecting points; sometimes they seem unorganized to me, and it bothers me. Will I notice if someone falls silent? What if I can’t find them again, to know that they’re okay, just busy with other things now? I remember a specific comment from a reader after my niece’s diagnosis – she had discovered my blog during the long months her own daughter had been battling leukemia in the hospital. Her comment was so encouraging, so carefully worded to inspire hope in those early days of panic. I think of her often. I wonder how her daughter is doing, although deep down inside I think I know and I wish that I could talk to her again about how hard this is. When I had surgery on my feet, I had a small group of internet friends in some sort of stage of recovery. It was so nice to email them and commiserate together. One of those writers has fallen silent and I can’t reach her. I hope she’s okay, but I have no way of really knowing.
This hasn’t been my chattiest of years, and my pauses here are longer than they used to be. It’s sort of normal now, and everyone is so busy. I meant to pop in on Thanksgiving to say that things are okay, but they weren’t and I didn’t have the energy to divert attention to conversations about gratitude. Things are still not okay, and I’m just not ready to write much about it just yet. And skipping over the not okay for the more lighthearted stuff has never worked for me. I have to work through the hard stuff first.
My grandfather is dying. I don’t know whether to describe this as a sudden turn of events or merely an escalation of demise. The more I experience death, the less I understand it. We pass the clinical descriptions back and forth across the hospital bed or over the phone and I’m well versed in the numbers. They are not all that different for an eighty-six year old than for an eleven-year-old. They give us something to talk about and dissect for tiny slivers of hope or promise of normalcy returned because what else can we talk about? I suppose there is always something sudden about this slow grief because we are much more gifted at arranging data into favorable patterns than allowing ourselves to give into this process that is draining and difficult.
I remember when I was in the hospital giving birth to each of our girls – I remember thinking about how the whole world was radically changing in that moment. Not just our world, but the whole world. Nothing in it would be same once she entered the room. I remember how strange it was to witness that while knowing that outside of that room life was bustling about as if everything was the same. I am not sleeping these days, just lightly resting in fits and spurts. How can I sleep or go about the normal parts of life with the knowledge that the whole world is radically changing with his departure?