“Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.”
The 4 p.m. part was wrong, but only by about an hour; the rest of Mary Schmich’s dictum is as true as ever.
It’s been a shattering, awful week, and it shouldn’t have been. We spent last weekend at a long-awaited and joyous wedding, drinking and dancing and carrying on with dozens of our friends. Our own first anniversary is coming up fast, and The Wife™ and I were happily planning our special day. We’re finally back in the office after the post-flood renovations, my mould-induced chest infection has cleared up, and the new dog has finally figured out that “stop” means “cease chewing on that shoe/chair/other dog right now!” The renovations at home have been finished, we got a bargain on a gym-quality treadmill (just in time to head off my usual winter/hibernation weight gain) and I felt good enough about life to waste some time writing a silly blog post.
And then, as we were preparing a favourite dinner, the dogs romping joyfully underfoot, we got an unexpected phone call from The Wife™’s stepmother. Her father had passed away suddenly from an apparent heart attack at their vacation home in the Bahamas.
I don’t know if there’s a word in English for that moment when grief strikes like lightning out of a clear blue sky. But there should be.
The Wife™ and her father have been estranged for several years. I’m not going to touch on details, because it’s nobody’s business but theirs, but the fact of the estrangement is part of the whole situation. They haven’t spoken in years, and she’d made peace with the idea (or at least told herself that she’d made peace with with it) that they would never speak again.
And now, they won’t. And I got to watch my wife’s face as that understanding sunk in, which is a memory that has joined a very short, very bleak list of things I’d rather have died than seen.
The rest of the week has been a nightmare, an absolute nightmare, of preparations and plans and further disasters and scrambling to get The Wife™ on a plane to Nassau in time for the memorial service this afternoon, and trying to support her stepmom and siblings long-distance (thank you, Skype.) Getting a eighteen-months expired passport replaced (at the Scarborough office, since the local offices can’t handle “expedited” requests), getting a plane ticket arranged, (only one, alas; I wasn’t able to get a seat to go down there with her) and getting her to the airport in time for her flight. Thank the gods that we had more than enough in savings to simply throw money at the various “expedited service fees” until the obstacles went away.
And all of this while trying to keep at least half a workload at the office since we’re short-handed, and take care of the dogs, and worry about The Wife™, who has been completely calm and controlled and focussed on what needs to be done, so much so that I’ve been sick with apprehension for her. Literally. I’ve been nauseous… although as I’m writing this, Google is informing me that her flight has landed safely at Lynden Pindling International Airport, which is a huge concern resolved — if the flight had been delayed, diverted, or forced to turn back because of some drunk asshole she’d have missed the service.
In order to make her 06:00 gate time this morning, we slept (badly) at a hotel near the airport last night, woke up early and I dropped her off at Terminal 1. Then I drove home in the bitter, windy cold before the sun rose, checked on the Mother-in-Law™ and the dogs, then kept on to the office to start work on some recalcitrant kiosks.
I’m going to be alone for about a week (for a given value of “alone”, of course, 130+ pounds worth of dog and my mother-in-law are waiting for my return after my day’s work, so I’m not exactly a hermit) until The Wife™ returns. I’ve resolved to spend that time usefully, mostly by cleaning up around the house and using the new treadmill and walking the dogs and maybe doing some pell-work before the snow flies. I figure the worst thing I can do is exactly what I want to do most, which is curl up with a bottle of brandy and an internet connection in order to wile away the next six days as quickly as possible.
But it’s hard. I’m tired right now, just bone-tired and beaten and lost. It’s been an awful week for us all, and to top it off I’m not going to be there for The Wife™ when the adrenaline runs out, which makes me feel like an absolute heel even though I know, intellectually, that there’s no help for it and she knows I’d be there if I could.
I’m hoping I’ll feel better after a hot meal, a stiff drink, and eight solid hours in my own bed… but I know I never sleep well when my wife is away.