Tomorrow is going to mark one week since I went outside that morning to try and straighten up the chaos in the garden caused by the horrendous storm we’d had the night before.
One week from the time I squatted down in front of my tomato plants and started working with them and glanced across the yard to find one of my upstairs neighbors slumped, half in and half out of his car.
One week since I went inside my upstairs neighbor’s apartment to try and wake the other brother up because of my concern for the one brother slumped over outside.
One week since calling 911 and then suddenly remembering the husband and wife paramedics who live in the building next door and desperately running and screaming for their help, having no way to know yet that it was already far too late for my neighbor, Bob.
One week since hearing the wife paramedic’s words of ‘no pulse’ and ‘he’s not breathing.’ One week since watching her using what looked like every single ounce of her strength into trying to work CPR on him. One week of her becoming desperate as she worked for 5 minutes, 10, 15 minutes on him and her one scream at him to ‘Come on! Breathe!’ One week since she kept repeatedly asking me how long he had been like that. I kept trying to tell her I didn’t know, that I only knew it’d been so many (whatever many) minutes since I’d found him. My answer wasn’t good enough and I felt even more helpless in the situation as she re-asked that same question 3 or 4 more times before she finally realized I had no other answer for her.
One week since watching what I’d only seen in a TV show suddenly being ‘played out’ in real life right in front of me to someone I knew personally.
One week since my own body suddenly became overwhelmed and I found myself bending over retching, gagging, threatening to lose my stomach there in the yard.
One week since slowly realizing Bob was gone, that it’d been too much time, of tears welling up in my eyes on the verge of crying.
One week since the feeling of shock and of realizing I’d found one of my neighbors dead.
One week of dealing with sudden unexpected grief. I hate grief.
I’ve questioned so many things over the last week: Why me? Why Bob? Why didn’t I look outside sooner? That last one is probably completely irrational, I realize that. God, what is Your purpose in this happening like it did?
I’ve struggled with shock, with confusion, with disbelief, with trying to accept it. I’m still trying to accept it.
I’ve stayed busy most days. I’ve brought the remaining brother, Joe, meals 3 times in the last 6 days. I’ve checked in on Joe I have no idea how many times.
I’ve worried about Joe. He has been fighting his own battles for the last week. He has too many times said he doesn’t need to eat. He has ‘seen’ his brother a few times inside the apartment and said he doesn’t know why because he says he knows his brother is dead. He said it’s scared him. He told me last night that he’s completely cleaned the living room, kitchen, and bathroom; that he’s trying to stay busy. He says he has to stay busy; that he feels better as long as he can keep working.
The last few days I’ve had a couple days of feeling like I was doing good, like I was coming out the other side of all this grief. This morning I went outside to work in the garden some and glanced up at the spot where things seemed to fall apart last weekend and it felt like I suddenly remembered everything in that one second of time. I’m back to the place of trying to remind myself that I did everything I could do, of confusion, of grief, of guilt, of wishing I had someone I could talk too.
Last night I went and bought gifts for a baby shower I’m going to be attending this afternoon. I have hopes of getting some time with my best friend sometime in the next month or so, I think, as she and her husband are missionaries on deputation and are planning to visit some churches here in West Virginia. My garden is growing well, counseling has been pretty good lately. I’m trying to focus on the positives in and around me right now but today is feeling like a struggle.