I have been keeping myself very busy lately. Lots of organizing and straightening up "common" areas. Places I never looked at twice because either I knew Ken would tend lovingly to them, or after he was sick I didn't have the time or wherewithal to focus on. It's being in these places that were last arranged by his expert hands that I've had some odd experiences. I've had moments of crystalline clarity when somehow everything that's happened "makes sense"; where I feel so empowered by the gifts he gave me and can turn my face toward the future and know I'll figure out something I (and he) can be proud of. And then there are times when I'm entranced and befuddled. Completely dazed, hearing myself mutter things like "I had everything. Now I have nothing" or "my future evaporated." They are disconnected moments that feel like more of an echo of my grief at its worst. And finally, I've had some quiet, sit-down moments where I've sometimes enjoyed, and sometimes just endured the quiet that fills my house now.
This week I've found myself requiring a much higher level of organization and tidiness that I have ever experienced before. I make my bed now. And worse, it satisfies me. I don't wait to tidy up after things have piled up. I do them when it's the right time to do them. My eyes examine familiar things in a new and more scrutinizing way. Let's face it. It's a more Ken-like way in many respects. When I was organizing the bedroom I pulled the dresser away from the window in order to get to the curtains. I couldn't remember if we'd purchased them in Chicago or LA, but in either case I knew for certain they hadn't seen the inside of a washing machine for quite some time. So I slipped them off the rod and I bundled them into my arms. I heard a familiar voice whisper "hey, why don't you check to see if we have any Rit in the laundry room." What a ridiculous suggestion! I don't do things like that. Too complicated. Too hard. What's the point? I considered it then discarded it, then reconsidered, then rediscarded, but didn't think I was up for the challenge (though I'd done it before for the living room curtains per Ken's request.) When I tossed them into the washer, lo and behold, there was some "yellow golden" dye sitting loudly on the shelf--front and center. Whether it was Ken or the emotional impression he left on me--like we were pressed so tightly together he left a true and indelible imprint on my heart or my brain or my psyche or on everything. I love moments like that. I hope they never stop. I need them. It makes me feel connected to him--and to our accomplished life together.
Aside from trying to get back into the swing of things at work, I've been planning Ken's memorial "soiree" (what he wanted it to be called) which is equal parts fulfilling and painful. Am I looking forward to it? Not at this point. Am I dreading it? Definitely. Though I'm excited to see the readings our friends and family will be presenting to pay homage to him, I'm dreading the idea of a final "good bye" to him, and to a life I cherished. As those very friends and family begin to descend on Chicago beginning tomorrow (Friday), I'm optimistic that I'll feel more comfortable with--well, with everything. There are several people I haven't hugged yet, or shared a person-to-person cry with. I don't think closure can begin for me until that happens. And certainly, the "soiree" is only the very beginning of the healing process. I know Ken would love the idea of so many loved ones together; loving and supporting one another. In that respect, I'm really looking forward to it.