Blogging is a funny thing. It's kind of like a diary, except that you put it out there for public consumption. The really good bloggers are great at dancing a line of witty self-deprecation and a raw self-examination that goes almost, but not quite too far to make us uncomfortable at reading the intimacies of their existence. I don't think I'm one of those bloggers, and maybe the reason is that when an experience in my life gets too intense, it's hard to find the words to share it with family and friends, let alone thousands of random strangers. This is probably why, unlike the incomparable Dooce, you won't ever be reading anything near a birth story on my blog.
So it is that while days and events, blueberry picking and beach trips and funny moments with the kids have flown by for the last couple of weeks, I haven't really been able to write about them. I haven't written a word here since the weekend we spent in Washington with Wayne's family following the death of his sister-in-law. I've wanted to talk about that weekend, which was definitely full of emotional highs and lows, but just couldn't find the words. And then it seemed silly that I couldn't write about it, and then it seemed even sillier to write about some other trivial thing that was going on, so basically I did nothing.
So (deep breath) here goes.
Don't know where to start... Let's see, Wayne's whole family was getting together for a family reunion, camping at Lake Wenatchee, which was planned several months ago. When his SIL died, we knew we would go wherever his brother would be, whether that was home or at the reunion. He decided to go ahead with going to the reunion, so we packed up the camper and headed north.
I can't imagine grieving my spouse's death. It's such a huge loss, none of us wants to think about it. Being with someone who has suffered that kind of loss is hard too because you so much want to make things better and there's really nothing you can do or say that will make that happen. Everything you think about saying sounds dumb because words can only carry so much feeling with them and it's not enough. Still, it was good to be there with his brother and just be with him - sit around the camp fire, laugh at the funny things his dog was doing (one of his 11 Great Danes, this one thinks he's a lap dog), and just be present.
On the total flip side of the coin, the kids and I got to meet their BIG brothers, Wayne's kids from his first (very very young) marriage. And that's really the part that's even harder to write about because it was kind of surreal. I was really nervous because while I know I'm a mom to my two kids, it's kind of different to be a step-mom to fully grown adults (when I don't always really feel like a fully mature adult myself half the time). And the kids had been really excited about this forever and I didn't want it to be awkward or anything. But I shouldn't have worried, because Rick and Rob are really the coolest of guys and Mackenzie and Asa ADORED them, along with Rick's wife Kristen. Being with them was eerie because while of course I knew they'd be a lot like Wayne, they were so much like Mackenzie and Asa in different personality ways and even at one point Rick looked over at Asa and pointed out that they were sitting EXACTLY the same. Like I said, eerie. They were so much fun to hang out with and Mackenzie summed it up with "I feel like we've known them forever even though we just met".
So while we were grieving a big loss in the family, we were also celebrating the growing of our family as well. Which made for a lot of emotional up and down over the weekend. I came back feeling like I needed to sleep for a week and then mentally process for another month or two just to take it all in.
The kids of course aren't old enough to really fathom grief in a big way. But they are able to process joy in the straightforward way that kids do. For days afterward, Mackenzie kept saying "I wish Rick and Rob were here, then it would be more fun" (and I would say "What am I then, chopped liver?" - but of course I can't teach him how to throw a football or any of that other great big brothery stuff like they were doing). And Asa has basically been running up their cell phone bills with phone calls and texts and sending and receiving photos.
And now the little details of life are smoothing down all of that big emotion, so I guess it's easier to process. After all, there's still laundry to be done and dinner to cook and swim meets to go to, and maybe even a few blog posts to write.