If you happened to read an earlier post of mine about my sheets, you know I had no intention of washing them anytime soon. It was one of the last tangible links I had to my husband. We slept in those same sheets together the night before he entered the hospital. Although almost completely gone, I could still catch a small whiff of his scent through the sheets (or maybe it was just my imagination, but it still made him feel close). I vowed I wouldn’t wash the sheets until they were falling part or simply too scary to sleep in anymore. Sorry folks…I know that sounds gross (and, I’m a very clean person), but grief causes you to behave in ways you never dreamed possible before.
The sheets were holding up quite well until…
Remember me telling you about my “bed buddy” – Austyn? He’s been sleeping with me for several weeks now. Well…I guess he slept a little too soundly the other night and soaked his PullUp, pajamas, AND the sheets! The poor little guy certainly couldn’t help it, but I was so disappointed. However, I didn’t let him see that disappointment; I simply pulled the sheets off the bed and tossed them into the washing machine for cleaning. Another closed door.
My brain tells me this probably sounds completely ridiculous, but my heart knows it’s completely rational under the circumstances, and you have to do what you have to do to survive a tragedy such as this (especially having experienced a widow journey now TWICE).
It seems with every tangible change in this journey, there is a heart change that often accompanies it. Such has been the case with my sheet washing experience.
I’ve struggled so hard to believe Joel is really gone. I’m not crazy…I KNOW he’s gone. I was there when he took his last breath. I saw his lifeless body in the casket. I watched the casket lowered into the ground. I KNOW. However, the suddenness of it all, and the fact he was so full of life just in the days leading up to his brief illness makes this whole thing seem ludicrous. Like…HOW can this be so?
I think on that day I washed our sheets for the first time since he went to Heaven, my heart finally believed Joel isn’t coming back. He’s really gone. And, I wept…HARD…almost as hard as when I first heard the words he wasn’t going to make it. And, thus, my grief journey took another turn…