With the funeral behind us, and the dead buried, we picked up the pieces of our lives and with heavy hearts, continued living. My days had been filled with the weight decorum of respect places above and beyond responsibilities in the labor of love I volunteered myself for again and again, but it was the short nights I think, coupled with the gravity of the events which drained me. I didn't sleep as much as pass out in bed each night and the sheer number of days which have passed had taken their toll. It was time to go home.
We packed our vehicle, said our goodbyes, loaded up the kids, and slid the gear selector into "Drive." As I pulled out of the driveway I thought dreamily of my absurdly expensive mattress only six short hours South.
Then the phone rang.
All the results came back - My wife's grandmother has been given only days to live. They've moved her to hospice and put her on morphine - there's nothing to do but but make her as comfortable as possible. Her children and their children are providing around-the-clock coverage. My brother-in-law is driving down from Oregon with his entire family in tow because there were zero flights out. Another cousin had to leave her family at the airport as she found only a single seat out from Florida - at $1000.
I pulled back into the carport and wearily unloaded the bags from the car.
Amidst all this woe, there have been the occasional highlights: Making new friends, mixing drinks for the widow after the wake, and my wife's ex-husband not showing up to the funeral after he confirmed his attendance. All notable events. And were there a tag for my favorite beer store in Wichita I would surely link to it now - many of my favorite beer stories and discoveries happen right here in Kansas, and this visit was no different. I discovered Rauchbier (my photo here), the original German "Smokebeer" which, at the time of my post on Shiner Smokehaus I was unaware of. And it even comes in a weizen. Its as if I were the one who'd died and gone to Deutscheland.
Lastly, bound and determined to balance the time spent in hospitals and funeral homes, I've taken my kids on several outings in which they've been able to run and play. After today's news and subsequent unpacking, and with nothing which required my direct involvement, I loaded up everyone's kids and took them on a six-hour adventure of nature trails, playgrounds, hills, hiking and of course: McDonald's.
I haven't seen my son this happy in weeks.
There was no fighting, bitching, boredom, or attitude. We played loud hip-hop in the car, drove with the windows down (it was the first sunny day in months here), and piloted the vehicle like a Texan in the Midwest (GUILTY!) So while I'm still fucking exhausted nearly to tears and don't know how long I'm going to be here, as long as I can pull off a few days like that every once in a while, I think I'll make it. I think we all will.