Saturday, December 8, 2012

Generalized Strangeness

Dear John,
 
I'm disoriented now - and with an excuse for it. Today seems like Friday since I went to work, but it's Saturday. I hope I remember in the morning that it's Sunday. I worked at least every other weekend for twenty years. But that was sixteen years ago. I guess that is long enough to get out of the habit.
 
We were never much for regular schedules, were we? The only time I worked Monday through Friday day shift was in the Cath Lab. The rest of my years I worked nights, evenings, and everything in between. I even had one year when I rotated all three shifts every week. When I signed up for the BSN I wasn't planning on working bankers' hours.
 
You never had a day-shift job, either. Pastors certainly don't have regular hours. You'd have office hours in the morning, meetings in the evening, and Sunday was your longest work day. The phone could ring in the middle of the night, and we'd be up and off to the hospital, funeral home, jail, or goodness knows where.  And restaurant management is the same. It's all service jobs - you do what is necessary to take care of the people who need you. 
 
It was what we did - we never knew anything else. And it worked. We kept both schedules on every calendar, synchronized our requests for time off, and managed just fine. We respected each other's careers and respected each other - maybe that's why it worked so well. Now I don't have anybody to synchronize with, and your mother says that was one of the biggest changes for her. After your father died and you went off to college, she could make plans without checking with anybody else. I can too now, and it does feel strange.
 
Everything feels strange right now. Two rooms are in flux, the fridge and pantry are half-empty, the basement is nearly empty, there's just one car in the garage, there's a dog sleeping beside me, and there's yarn in your closet. It's all strange. Everything in the world is different than it was before, and nobody except me seems to notice it. What's really different is me - completely, radically, suddenly, totally different. Just how, I'll have to explore another night. Otherwise I'll still be up when Sunday morning comes.
 
I love you so much. You always knew you would be the one to leave first, and you were right. Everything you did helped prepare me for this. So know that I am making it. I'm doing okay. Thank you for loving me so much, having so much faith in me, trusting and respecting me, and convincing me that I could survive without you. It's your confidence in me that I lean on now. I love you more than everything on earth put together. But I will do what I have to - I will live if that is what's necessary - and I'll be grateful for our years together. And I will hold on to the hope of being with you someday in the Kingdom of Heaven.
 
Thank you for everything,
Joan.
 


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