Monday, January 11, 2010

Snow Days

Good morning Monday Mourners!

It's a lovely Monday morning in Michigan in January which means it's really cold and pretty much everything in sight is covered in snow. As with most of the nation this past week, I found myself holding a shovel - several times. Now shoveling snow is really not a complicated task. You push and you scoop. I am not too frail or impaired physically so as to make the job too difficult. I also have only a short sidewalk and porch that require snow-removal. Nevertheless, I hate the job! But I don't hate it for all the obvious reasons. It's not because it's too cold outside or the snow is too heavy or wet. (though snow is always cold and wet) I grew up in Michigan. Shoveling snow is part of the "gig". Here's why I hate shoveling snow:
It's a "David job". My husband of 27 years shoveled the snow. He would often gather the children to help (now there's someone who truly hates shoveling snow - any teenager). I did not shovel. Mom got a pass! My job was to have a cup of hot chocolate waiting for him when he was finished. Then David died about the same time as the kids hit college. Now shoveling is my job. And that's why I hate it. It's a "David job". Every time I pick up that shovel I am reminded of my loss. It's as though the shovel screams, "WIDOW!" with every scoop.
Three years later and the shovel still screams at me. So do light bulbs that need changing, spiders that need killing and changing the clocks twice a year when the time-zone changes (another Michigan oddity). All are "David jobs". I have been known to leave a burned-out light bulb in place for weeks before dealing with it. Light bulbs are not complicated. I just hate doing the "David jobs". They remind me of loss and force me to make adjustments I never wanted to make. And this is grief. It's constant - unyielding - and totally irritating. (and those are just the polite words)
So how do we deal with it? Well, on the first winter of grief I cried with every scoop of the shovel. I don't recommend you do that! Tears freeze. The second winter I got angry and yelled at the snow and at David for not being there to handle this mess. That was at least productive- the anger helped me shovel harder and faster.
This week the shovel screamed "WIDOW" and I pretended not to hear it and got the job done with little trouble or sadness. I guess you could call that "progress".
I have learned to do a little mind-exercise whenever one of these grief waves slaps me from behind. I quickly remind myself of the blessing of having a David to do those jobs for 27 years and I think about my sister and several close friends who have never married and spent all of those 27 years shoveling their own snow. God surely blessed me with a good husband and more than adequate snow remover for most of my adult life. I got no reason to complain. Complaining is a choice and, more than often, a simple issue of perspective. I make the choice to celebrate my blessings instead of stewing over my losses -even when the shovel screams at me.
"whatsoever things are true and noble and good and honorable and praiseworthy, think on those things." GOD
So how are you doing with all that? Where ever you find yourself today in the grief process there are still blessings worth celebrating. And it is truly helpful when we do. So if you can find the energy and the courage go ahead - celebrate what you have while you grieve what you've lost. It doesn't make the loss go away but it does make the "screaming shovel" a little easier to take.
My second cup of coffee has just been poured and so I'm done for now. I pray you have a good week. Yes, good weeks are possible even with grief.

See you on Monday. Let me know how you're doing with your grief. I cant fix it but I do know how to pray.

Coffee's getting cold! Karen

PS: At 9:00am - It's snowing....again!
PSS: At 11:00am - It's snowing...again!

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