When Whitney Houston died, I watched Tyler Perry discuss his relationship with her. He discussed how she would tell him about some of the struggles she was having and he said that just around the time he wanted to console her and say something supportive to her, she would say “but the Lord..” – I was inspired by his words but never quite understood her “but the Lord”… I thought “but the Lord what? – tell me the rest of this..”
I’m not a fan of this grief thing and have been walking around frustrated, sometimes a little angry and resentful and just really, really, really sad. Not a fan of the impromptu tears that come. I’m kinda feeling depressed – that’s what grief does, it makes you take a long hard stare at the importance of the relationships you have and the lessons you’ve learned from someone you love when they leave.
On the day I left the Assisted Living place where mom was, I thought of going down to the dining room but then decided I was too sad and ended up going to Chipotle instead. I stepped up to the counter and ordered a steak bowl. The man behind the counter smiled and asked “how are you doing today?” “Okay,” I said, “not great, not an easy time”. “Sorry to hear that” he said. And then he said that because I wasn’t having a great day, lunch was on him. I thought he was kidding so reached for my card but then the cashier said “No, he’s not kidding – there’s no charge for your lunch today.” “Thank you” I said – completely not wanting to lose it right then and there in the middle of the Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Later in the day, one of the only things left in mom’s apartment was the blazer she had worn for Thanksgiving dinner. It couldn’t go into the quilt I am having made because it needs to be dry cleaned. So for some reason, I don’t understand, I had it dry cleaned and it has been hanging on a door in her room. As I was loading the car, I walked by the laundry room and saw one of mom’s newer friends – a woman she had recently started to have dinner with (it was the same woman who asked if mom was okay – that she was concerned as she hadn’t seen her – when we were riding in the elevator together and I had to tell her that mom had died).
She was trying to get the washer machine to work and asked if I could assist her. So as we stood there together trying to jiggle this and push that, I looked at her and asked: “are you a 14 petite?” (the size of mom’s blazer and yes, a flight of ideas). She said “yes, sometimes I wear a 14 petite, why?” and I explained that I had mom’s blazer and was trying to find a home for it and would she consider trying it on? “sure!” she said.
I walked back to mom’s room to pick up the blazer so she could try it on. It looked perfect on her. “would you like to have it?” I asked. “Certainly!” she said, followed by a huge smile.
It had been a very long frustrating few days where there were moments when I wanted to just be mad at the world, but then these moments (maybe these “but the Lord..” moments) would come where I would be stopped by a brighter moment – a call from a friend to have dinner or another friendly interaction that would guide me to keep moving. And in those moments, I think I may have had a better understanding of “but the Lord…”