Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Churchill & St. Paul

Dear John,
We had a normal slow Wednesday at work, the brickwork is going well on the new building, and Maggie is finally big enough to get up on the bathroom counter and lie in the sink. Nothing to see here.
Today I was thinking about these last three years and how the experience of being without you has changed over time. I don't love or miss you any less, but I have grown accustomed to being on my own. It is amazing how adaptable we are; people can adjust to a lot. I would never have believed I could adapt to life without you, but it seems that I have.
I seem to have gotten here by virtue of extreme stubbornness. I've always had a gift for stubborn endurance. It's come in handy a few times, but never to the degree it has since your death. Churchill was right: When you're going through Hell, keep going. You have to keep getting up in the morning, keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when you can't see hope or meaning. Just keep doing it. Hope and meaning will come eventually. In the meantime, keep on keeping on. Be stubborn. Endure. Hope for hope. Cry every night, eat pop tarts when you need to, hang on to your widowfriends for dear life. Do what you need to do. But keep going.
I'm reminded of one of my cousins. They came up from Texas to visit us in Kentucky one winter. We all went for a walk in the snow one afternoon. One of them sat down on the sidewalk and cried because she was cold. The rest of us tried to reason with her and point out that the only way to get warmer was to get up and walk to the house, but she just sat there in the snow and cried. If you're gong through Hell, keep going. Neither snowstorms nor widowhood will get better if you give up in the middle. Keep going.
Well, that's my pondering for today. You knew I was bullheaded; you didn't know how helpful it would be. That's endurance, to keep going through Hell. Endurance produces character and character produces hope. Now I understand what St. Paul meant.
I'm starting to ramble and it's bedtime. I'll get the cats out of the sinks and get us all off to bed. Thank you for never minding my stubbornness. Thank you for knowing I'd survive without you. I do not, however, thank you for forgetting to take me with you.

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