Saturday, August 18, 2007

Redefining Normalcy

Today was the beginning of a return to normal life after the intensity of the past two weeks and five days. Even as I write that, I ask myself, "has it really been just under three weeks since that evening phone call from Floyd Medical Center?" It's true: that Sunday night call began one of the most far-reaching emotional odysseys of my entire life.

Normalcy began with my first full night's sleep since July 29th. I was in bed by 1 a.m. and didn't get up until 9 a.m. (even though I did wake up about an hour before that--I didn't actually get up, so I think it counted as sleeping late). And for the first time since that day, I didn't go to Rome.

In fact, I didn't do anything particularly productive today. I know that I should have worked on Comic Shop News, I should have cleaned up the clutter I've made around the house, I should have filed away a lot of paperwork... but I felt like doing nothing at all, which is just what I did.

The day wasn't totally normal, as I doubt that any day will be totally normal for a while yet. When I was walking, I found myself reaching for my phone to press button 2--Dad's auto-dial button--since I always called him during my morning walk. Then, when I was taking a few things out of the car, I found the hospital bag containing Dad's clothes from July 29th--a more disturbing moment than I would ever have anticipated.

A trip to the grocery store... an afternoon walk... an idle phone conversation with an old friend, another with a good neighbor... a trip to a local department store... all things I would have taken for granted once. Now, each of them embodies an engaging mundanity that I crave.

It will be a while before life is truly normal. There will still be too many sad moments, unexpected remembrances, and rediscovered loss. There will be more good memories and recollections of past happiness, too. And of course, there is the real world that must be dealt with--there is a will to file, there are notices to Social Security and the Veteran's Administration that must be submitted, there are accounts to transfer, and there are the accumulated fragments of a magical lifetime that must be sorted through as the house welcomes a new generation and a new child who will, I hope, have a childhood every bit as wonderful as my own in this love-filled home...

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