Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Down Yonder at the Lake

We're visiting David's grandparents for the long weekend.  A weekend that is extending through Wednesday, when his g-pa is having a pacemaker put it.  They live on Table Rock Lake, near Branson.  Right now, Table Rock Lake is up so high that it's practically knocking on their back door.  The water is going back down now, so we spent the weekend chain-sawing a fallen tree, picking up debris (sticks, leaves, and a dead fish) in their yard, cutting and edging the grass, and creating a big burn pile.  His grandpa is usually very active, but has been feeling really poorly lately (hence the need for the pacemaker) so we were glad to be able to come down here and help them out.

David's grandparents were both raised in the Ozarks and although I think that since Missouri was never an official part of the confederacy that it is technically above the Mason-Dixon line (is that right?  I really have no idea), Southwest Missouri might as well be deep in the heart of Dixie when it comes to Southern twangs (and certain cultural phenomena, like mega-churches and obesity).  Anyway, the point is that accents are contagious 'round these parts and I keep finding myself saying things like "yonder" and "holler."

Being here is nice because it's beautiful and we can sit on their sun porch and eat breakfast overlooking the lake.  We've been able to be useful and tackle lots of big and small projects (in addition to yardwork, David helped his grandpa purchase and set up a new television, we set up a Wi-Fi router for our own convenience when visiting, and I brought my sewing machine and got a couple of projects done).  We've also had plenty of time to sit on the swing on the back patio and stare at the lake or look up at the stars and talk or not talk, which has been relaxing.  And even kind of romantical.

But being here is also hard because we had talked a lot about visiting there with Eliza and there have been moments when I miss her so much my stomach hurts.

David and I were swinging and looking at the lake when he said that it's just that the bad times are worse than the good times are good.

I knew just what he meant.  It's like my basic level of operation before was pretty good.  Whatever else was going on, my base level of feeling was happy.  I could go up or down from there, but resting at zero was still a good place to be. 

Now I can still go up or down, but my basic operating level is so much sadder than it ever was before.  So it's harder to feel happy and it's easy to feel sad.  I'm doing a much better job at living these days, but life is rarely the pleasure that it was before.

I miss that, but at the same time, I think, I don't want happiness back if it means I have to find a way to be contented without Eliza here. 

There's a post up at Glow in the Woods written by a bereaved mother who's more than two years away from her loss.  I think it's beautiful.  She writes that the living--the surviving--that's the easy part.  It's the thriving, the joyfulness, the happy that is so much harder.  I love that it demonstrates the transforming power of this experience but also suggests that it is possible not only to survive but eventually to find a new way to thrive.  Even in the wake of a tragedy that we had been unwilling to imagine.


  1. I recently watched a documentary about suicide and in it, they interviewed a mother whose son committed suicide some 20 years earlier. She said "it is true that life goes on, just not the way you thought it would". Ain't that the truth. Somehow, you go on, but you are altered and you can thrive but it is work and different than it would have been.

  2. I could not agree more. Our daughter Ava passed away almost four months ago and i was thinking the exact same thing about our moods lately. Our overall mood is far sadder and less happy then we ever have been. We can be sad far easier, like its a mere scratch under the surface. It takes a great deal more for us to feel happy. We do still feel joy, but its a different joy then before; always marked with a bruise of sadness.

  3. I totally agree. today would have been my EDD, so I am spent. Can't come up with anything to add, but just wanted to agree.

  4. I want to say something helpful and encouraging, but all I've got is that it's just hard, and I hate it that you have to go through all this, and I wish with all my heart that Eliza were there with you.

  5. Ugh, I feel like I could have written this myself (far less eloquently though, of course).

    The new 0 is sad, and now the sad is exemplified. It's like struggling to keep above water with your feet tied together.

    Off to check out the post on GITW.

  6. Hope you guys are able to enjoy some more moments of relaxation on your trip. The GITW post sounds beautifully written, I'll have to go check it out. So true that we are completely transformed by this experience and that our lives, perspective, outlooks are forever changed.