I Just Can’t Can’t

IMG_3962My mother-in-law, Elaine Marie Oslund Tinker, died on Wednesday, October 8 and I feel a bit like nothing is quite as it should be.

And yet, the rest of the world is moving on just fine. And I just can’t can’t right now. I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I’ll be honest, I don’t even want to drag myself out of bed in the morning. (Or in the afternoon if I can get away with sleeping that long.)

But somehow I do keep getting out of bed, and I made bread one day, and I’ve built backyard fires two nights in a row, and I’ve had good conversations that aren’t just all about my grief, and I’m making plans for my future, and I’m starting negotiations for a new job…

And life is going on. My life is going on.

And that’s as it should be, but it doesn’t feel like it should be.

There’s part of me that wants to just stop. To just make everything stop.

And that part of me is dragging me down. And it’s making me not want to write.

I deliberately gave myself permission to not write when I was spending so much time caring for Elaine and when we were all caring for one another in the time after her death. Those were the days–or hours–that we all just took one at a time.

Writing, though integral to who I am and what I’m doing, writing just had to wait for the most part.

And even now I’m not entirely sure what to say about those days. And part of me feels like I can’t. But I just can’t can’t. I have to say something even if I don’t know what I’m saying.

And the “have to” is not some weird pressure I’m putting on myself. I promise. I would tell you if that was what it was.

The “have to” or the “can’t can’t” is this feeling deep down that I know, know, know there is more for me in life.

I said before that I felt like everything in my life prepared me for my ability to be present with Elaine as I did–I felt that same sense throughout even the worst of her illness and even in her dying.

And it would be so gratifying if I could kick back and say, “Ah, Lord, I see my work here is done.”

But God keeps nudging me, “I’m not finished with you yet.”

And as much as I felt like all my life prepared me for what I’ve just been through, I feel as though what I’ve just been through has prepared me for more, more, more.

And so, I just can’t can’t.

And so I press on.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by catherine on October 19, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Oh oh oh… Sending so much love in your direction. I am sure that the Holy Spirit stirred your soul while you were caring for Elaine in the quiet hours. We will see what God brings forth from this.

  2. Posted by oma500 on October 20, 2014 at 8:21 am

    I am so very sorry. There is something so special about the love between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law (father-in-law too, in my case). My husband, their son, preceded them in death and that made us even closer. She died in the fall of 1994 and my father-in-law followed 31 days later. It was devastating. They always called me on Sunday evenings. To this day I find myself looking at the clock and thinking about their calls – every Sunday evening.

  3. […] be told, I wasn’t ready for any of them. The world doesn’t make sense anymore since Elaine died and she was in her 80s–not so very young, but still she is gone too […]

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