April 24, 2012

From upstairs I can hear them muddling about, getting ready for school. I have yet to get out of bed, the pain and fatigue are holding me captive under the covers. I worry my job will one day tire of me being tired. I lay there, knowing I will be late, again. The sun through the window plants a golden square on my floor. It illuminates the socks I tossed off in the middle of the night, each pale yellow dog hair glimmers proudly to be embedded in my blue cotton comfy socks. .

From upstairs I can hear them. Doug is making coffee and the sudden whirl of the coffee grinder temporarily drowns out the cartoons Mattie and Allie are watching. The cat paws at the downstairs window. This is how he demands his breakfast. Billowing up the stairs, I hear chatter and toast popping from the toaster and the buzz of text messages that come during breakfast. Our dogs are like a tap troupe on the hardwood floors. They need their nails trimmed. Erin heads down the stairs into our front dining room and they all share small talk. Who is staying late after school? How much money to we need to pay for that field trip? Pass the milk. I hear them share their ordinary morning and I wonder, is this what it will be like, when I am gone.

Will I be able to look in on my family, that I love so much and share their morning conversations? Will I be someplace almost close, like upstairs, in bed. Can I follow along the same way I eavesdrop this morning?

Mattie is not feeling well and she asks Doug for some cough drops to take to school. I will cuddle with her tonight on the couch. I take a deep breath and decide to let the tears go ahead and run down my face. I cry to think of the times when I won’t be there to dispense cough drops and cuddles. Will I be able to send comfort from beyond? I tell the girls that after I am gone I will still be there, in spirit, watching over them all of the time. I tell them this when we talk about these things that are hard to talk about. They seem comforted by our conversations. Still we all cry.

Someone pours kibble into the dog’s bowls. I hear the twins head upstairs to brush their teeth. They giggle and share inside jokes only twins think are funny. I quickly dry my eyes in case they decide to come in my room to kiss me goodbye. They do. I wish them a good day and send them off to school. Doug will drive them.

From upstairs I can hear them muddling about, Doug is looking for his glasses and Allie gathers her viola. Then the house falls silent. Is this how it will be?


15 Responses to “upstairs”

  1. julie Says:

    Beautiful Post

  2. Christy Says:

    Ronnie, as I sit here reading this with tears flowing, the questions you ask are the ones I think about every day and wonder if my Mom is right here listening and watching over me. Watching life go on without her. It makes me sad and angry at the same time. I don’t like living life without her. The emptiness is so overwhelming. Your family will miss you more than you can ever know.

  3. Larissa Forsythe Says:

    Ronnie, I truly believe that God gives this gift to us: that when we love one another, that love provides a place for us to be together, no matter where we are in space and time. I believe with all my heart that you and your family will always be together in that place. No matter what.

    God’s blessings and peace be with you and yours.


  4. Betsy Happel Says:

    The cover story on my last issue of Christian Century magazine was “In Pursuit of Silence.” The key point was that there are few places in our frenetic world today where silence can be experienced. Thank you for reminding us that silence might not always a desired choice. Your words are like a painting on my heart.

  5. british5 Says:

    Ronnie .. tears flowing .. you look at things with such grace and honesty and maturity and for what it is .. no matter how painful .. allowed yourself to peek at what life might look like without you .. and yes your daughters know deep in their souls that you will be right there next to them .. whenever that time is .. because you have talked with them, shared with them, laughed and cried with them … I have felt my mothers presence since the day she died … I KNOW she is sharing in my joy and love for little Harper! I feel her love surround me Ronnie. Your girls will feel your love because you share that love so strongly and freely every moment you are able. Your family will miss you but will feel your presence, your love. I know.

    • Barbara Thompson Says:

      Ronnie, Betsy just told me about your site. I’m not sure I know how to do this.
      Since his death in 1986,I have experienced my father several times, so absolutely experienced him. I still feel so at peace each time I think of those times.
      Jim and I already have our funerals planned and our little suitcase for our ashes to be together. The suitcase has a tag: For our last wonderful trip together. I look upon my own death with no fear because of something Helen Smith said just a day before she passed. We had lived next door to the Smiths for our first 10 years of marriage. Helen’s daughter was quietly crying in my arms. I was trying so hard to think of something to say and I blurted out, “Well, Helen, how do you feel about where you are at this point?” She smiled a great smile, put both arms up in the air and said, “Death is going to be my next GREAT adventure!!” I loved that!! And I have said it many times since!
      But in the meantime, I stay focused on the present, especially since Jim’s health problems have been so continual. We celebrate each day we have and avoid thinking long term. Celebrate the day! love, Barbara Thompson

  6. Karen Missler Says:

    Ronnie, I so look forward to your post, they are so heart felt and I know your girls will love them and appreciate them many years from now. You have an amazing gift to communicate your thoughts on paper.

  7. Carolyn Engel Says:

    Ronnie, your words are always so beautiful. You make us all realize how lucky and blessed we are to experience life’s everyday moments. I hope I never take these things for granted. Thank you for being such an inspiration, despite all of the things you must be going through. Many, many blessings to you and your family. You’re always in our thoughts and prayers.

  8. Jackie Puzniak Says:

    Ronnie, you have such a beautiful way of expressing yourself with words. You paint a picture that makes me feel I am right there experiencing every moment with you. My heart breaks as you struggle with this nasty disease. You are such a fighter. You have faced many roadblocks and busted through them with strength and thanksgiving for each hurdle you have jumped. You have inspired me from the day I met you. I see a cardinal bird fly in front of me and I know that my mom is along for the ride. I can watch a Cardinal game and she is sitting right there cheering with me. I take her with me to places I know she liked by wearing her wedding ring. I feel her as we enjoy whatever is happening and I talk to her when I have something good or bad to share. Your daughters will also take you with them and share all that is important as if you were there. You are always in my thoughts and prayers. I pray everyday that you can be like me in this battle. I hear you say that as you touched my hand in group. I wish I had the power to make it happen.

  9. Barbara Jarvis Says:

    Ronnie what a beauatiful post. None of us know what the future will be, however, I truly believe that my mother is in my heart and at times her energy has brushed up against me and I knew it was her. I did not plan it ,it just happened.
    Lots of Hugs

  10. My favorite mother in law, Kay, has been “upstairs” for 8 years now. She listens to us rattle around down here. She shouts down to some of us, those who listen for her. She beams with pride at the grand kids acomplishments. She hovered over us as we welcomed her great grand babes into the world in Feb. Her grasp is wider now with those designer wings she wears. Her energy still flows through our family gatherings….powered by the wings of love.

  11. Mom Says:

    Your home made fall silent but you will not. You will always be there to comfort, guide and provide love and guidance to Doug and the girls. No matter what the situation is your sister and I will always tell them to talk it over with Mom and she will show you the way. The love that is in this family goes way beyond any physical appearance.

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