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“How are you guys doing?”  Ah yes, the question that so many would like to know the answer about us.  Me too.  The shortest answer is also perhaps the most accurate and honest, I don’t know.

I remember someone sharing with me an article entitled, “The Artful Dodge” some years ago, probably even before Trey was diagnosed.  It was based loosely on the character from Oliver Twist but centered on a social situation.  It talks about how one living through trials and tribulations answers that very question, “How are you?”  Do you really go there?  How much do they want to know?  Do you really have it in you to be honest?  What DO they know in the first place?  It’s more difficult than you’d think.  So, typically, you find a way to “dodge” the question.  Well, of course, I don’t dodge it.

Typically, since you asked (I know…you didn’t) I answer thusly, “If you’re grading on a scale of people who have lost a dear and precious loved one within the last 18 months?  We’re probably doing great.  If you are asking overall?  Fine, I suppose.”  Sometimes I’ll throw in a, “Well, that depends, give me a category.”  There are a few things going ridiculously well, others less so.

However, I have come to a conclusion recently and speak on behalf of all fathers who have lost loved ones and live in my house right now (that would be…just me).  One of the things that has puzzled me since Trey passed is how much sense his passing can make (he did have cancer and we know that he is in heaven, a far better place than here), how seemingly ok I can be with that, and how much I was “prepared” for this to happen.  So, if that all that is true, and I swear that it is, why don’t I feel “just fine?”  Granted the left (analytical) side of my brain is one thing but the right side (emotional) is another.  They operate at different speeds and not always together.  I get that too.  Here’s what I have come up with and feel I can fairly easily explain to you.

Two things.  1.  Regardless of anything I can “figure out” a major life event has happened out of order.  My best friend from high school was probably the first to say it to me but a couple of others have as well.  “You’re not supposed to bury your children.  Children are to bury their parents…and that’s plenty difficult enough.”  No matter how I wrap my mind/heart and soul around this, there is just an uneasiness…to it that destabilizes anything/everything.  2.  Everything is on the table.  Before “all of this” it was much easier to say, “Well, sure, that COULD happen but odds are…  Well, that DID happen and then, that other thing and few other ones HAPPENED too.  The odds DON’T matter.  So I can’t tell myself that this random pain is just gas when it could be a baby alligator that I mistakenly swallowed slowly eating its way out of my body (oh, odds ARE small on this one but I really tried to keep it random).  I have been blessed with only dipping my toe in the pool of anxiety but I’m sure it’s deeply rooted in this truth.  Blech.

Yes, there are things to do to live with, deal with, manage all of the above.  If you have read any and or all of my “stuff” you know that attaching comfort to pain goes a very long way toward healing a lot of this grieving.  Jesus telling me to not worry makes more sense than ever.  Yes, each day has enough to not freak out about both the figurative and literal tomorrow.  My left brain knows this to be very true and I cling to the fact that HE has seen me through all of this thus far and used many of you to love us through these many times.  However, the right brain reminds…having experienced a major life event out of order leaves one realizing that EVERYTHING…is on the table.

That’s how I am.


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