The last couple of weeks have been rough. After Michael’s accident we had family members flying all over the place, which my anxiety really didn’t like (especially when it involved putting my 72-year-old father on a plane for a 24-hour trip to Australia). He got there all right, but then Michael passed away and we started an overwhelming game of Should We or Shouldn’t We Go to Australia for the Funeral.
We didn’t go.
It was agonizing. I couldn’t imagine not going, and yet I couldn’t quite figure out how we’d make it work either. I’ve been so sick so far this pregnancy that a 24-hour trip seemed like the World’s Worst Idea. I could have gone, of course, and would have, but we also didn’t want to totally overwhelm everyone by showing up a day before the funeral with a three-year-old in tow.
In the end, we decided we will be the second wave of support and go down in a few weeks (with my other sister) when things have calmed down and my sister and brother-in-law are trying to adjust to their new normal. In the meantime, we’ve sent texts and messages—by the hundreds, it seems—and if waves of love can reach that far they’ll have had an ocean’s worth.
Now the funeral is done. Friends and family have spoken words of love and Michael’s school mates formed an honour guard for him as he left the cemetery. Those of us here have had our own moment to remember him and we now exist in that space between blessed closure and enduring disbelief. We continue to ask why, but an answer never comes.
Until today, half of my family was in Australia (more than half, actually). My brother also went for a quick down-and-back to help my dad and youngest sister travel comfortably home. (Working for an airline has its benefits.) Much to everyone’s relief, they’re just arriving home after another 24-hour trip in a very short span of time.
There is no pause button in this life. And try as I might, I haven’t been able to find any sort of rewind button either. So for the moment, I have chosen to hit reset. Instead of being in perpetual limbo—waiting for what?—I declared Easter weekend a weekend to go out of town. We got out of the house, where we’ve been sitting waiting for the phone to ring or the next text message to wing its way across the world, and spent some time in the mountains.
More on that later, but in the meantime I’ll say this: It helped.