When I'm not sure what to do or what to think, I clean. There's something about a mundane task like dishes that helps me sort through whatever is in my head. It resets me.
Of course, this week has been turned around for us since my brother died yesterday. After sitting and sobbing with my parents for awhile, sharing stories, sometimes just sharing total silence, I got up and started cleaning their kitchen.
Over the next few hours, they had visitors in and out. I just stayed in the background cleaning up, tidying, whatever I could do so that Mom and Dad could just visit and grieve this week instead of worrying about the house.
So many people have called, texted, messaged, commented on Facebook, and visited my parents and all of us. We appreciate the outpouring of love that has flowed into this situation. Already, several ladies have made enough food for a week.
While the days are a flurry of activity right now for my parents, I can imagine the nights are a time of reflection and grief as they're left to their own quiet thoughts. That's when the house is too quiet; that's when you wake up to take care of someone, but they're not there; that's when the pill reminder pops up, except it's not needed anymore.
Nighttime reflection is when you wonder if you did enough. What could have been different? What if you had checked on him sooner? What if there was some clue that something was wrong, but you just didn't see it? If only...
The questions stir up a false guilt that has no place in reality, yet the what-ifs are a hard monster to fight.
Someone who loses a child may wonder what they did wrong. The answer is: nothing. Mom took care of my brother tirelessly, motivated by a motherly love that shone through all her work.
God only knows exactly what happened; in the end, God alone determines the number of our days. He is with us through the good times and bad, bearing our grief if we let Him.