Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Unprocessed & Undercooked

Frankly, I’m beat.

It has been a week of stunning and staggering news, scrambled chaos, sad greetings, funny moments and tearful goodbyes. And a whole lot of decision-making and hard work.

I didn’t take the college class, “How to bury your parents,” so I’m in the school of hard knocks. That’s probably good in that I’m forced to give all of my attention to what’s right in front of me—no prepared speeches, no template behavior, no long-practiced posturing. There are no veterans around here—only clumsy neophytes.

Everything I do or say feels unprocessed and undercooked. Organic never felt quite this raw.

The funeral for my mother was, well, wonderful. It was a deep and meaningful hour and a half, where many people poured forth their admiration and longing for my mother, while others sort of squirted-out their thoughts and feelings. “I, um, ah, don’t know exactly what to say or feel. I just loved. . .I just, um. . .well, you know—your mother.” We’d clasp hands or hug, and knowingly nod our heads in unison, like we couldn’t have said it any better.

My dad’s not doing well. Not only is he living with the trauma of the sudden and tragic loss of my mother, but also his health is a mess. In between routinely popping pills he removes from what looks like miniature candy bins, he has been blacking out, falling and hurting himself. We had the paramedics out this afternoon because we didn’t know if he’d had a stroke, or if he’d doubled-up on his sleep medication—which is what we found. My father was a zombie, and it unnerved us all.

No one here feels permitted to relax or stand down because the fight to make life okay seems to have just begun. Maybe it feels like we’re losing right now, and most of our forces just left the field. My three brothers (one who has been laid-up for the last couple of days with a terrible back problem) and their families left yesterday, so I’m not certain how the vacuum will feel today. Peaceful and easier to see what’s needed, or harassed and vulnerable?

I’ve found that my personal battle is to remember to sow toward the Spirit, instead of following the panicked pleadings of the flesh. It feels like I’m in one of those “life comes at you fast” commercials. If I don’t regularly pause and offer myself to God or think about Him or load an uplifting tune on my inner iPod, I get worn out. And Colorado feels so far away.

While this certainly seems hopeless, I’m not at all. It simply feels like I’m fighting a new battle with very old and inadequate weapons. I don’t have my footing yet. I’ll get there, but not yet.

Would you pray?


  1. Hi Ralph,
    Yes, I will pray for you, for wisdom and strength and also for quiet so you will be able to process your grief and other feelings in His presence. He loves you so much Ralph and He will sustain your dad too, whatever happens. I pray that you will feel the loving arms of your heavenly Father underneath you, carrying you through.

    "I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." (Psalm 16:8)

    Love, blessings and comfort,

  2. What a kind note, Carla.

    Thank you.