As I walk by myself down the roads near my parents' place in Michigan on a cold Winter's morning, I try to let the familial negativity of the preceding two days wash off me in the cold Winter wind. The chill air brings tears to my eyes, and the sun shines off the snow. It's very quiet here, and I enjoy the silence for a while, but I can't resist putting on my Zune and listening to some Immortal. Immortal is a Norwegian Black Metal band, whose songs deal mostly with frozen , icy realms where swords clash and tyrants rule from raven thrones. They are the only band I know that : a) used the word 'permafrost' in a song, and b) made it sound evil. As I listen in the cold wind and walk throught he snowy landscape, it 's an appropriate soundtrack. After a few songs, though, I turn it off and return to the silence. On my solitary journey I come across a tree stump with two empty beer bottles inserted into it. I think, was this where two friends toasted one another? Or perhaps two young lovers sneaking off in the cold Winter night to see each other? Or maybe a lonely fellow, drinking and pondering life's mysteries as he sits on a stump on the side of the road...one can only wonder.
The next couple of days are spent with my parents. Comfort food is made and eaten, as we use each other's company as a balm against the loss we've shared. I know that us being there is especially good for my Mom. She and my Dad(and to a lesser extent, us kids) took care of my other Grandma(my Dad's Mom) after her husband passed away, and when she died, my Mom said it was like losing a parent and a child. I'm sure she feels the same way now, especially since it's her own Mom. I hurt from my own sense of loss, but I hurt even more for my Mom, because I know she must be hurting more than anyone else right now. When I saw her at the end of the viewing, kneeling in front of the casket and starting to cry, my heart brioke. I hate situations where there's nothing that can be done...the animal in me longs for something tangible to lash out at, to smash and break and kill, to pull the hurt out and choke it, tear it apart, to stop it...but things like this are intangible and unstoppable, and only time can make the pain lessen.
We pack up for the trip back to Texas. We plan on going straight through. My brother suggests we go through Oklahoma, since Kim and I haven't been on that route before, and it's about the same distance and time. As night approaches, we discover the weather is getting bad. On the satellite radio and on my laptop, we confirm that the path we've chose is right where there's a storm brewing...damaging winds, rain, possible tornadoes, etc. We decide to press on, and if the weather gets too dicey, we'll pull over and tough it out. As we head into the rain and wind, the song 'Into The Void' by Black Sabbath comes on the radio...oddly appropriate, I think to myself. It's windy, and the rain is harsh in spots, but as we finally cross into Texas, the clouds part, and the Moon stares down like the eye of Odin upon us. As on the trip up, snacks, energy drinks, and the occasional stop for something resembling 'real' food keep us going. As on the way up, I sleep little, as it's uncomfortable in the truck and I always feel the obligation to keep awake to keep the driver company even if I'm not driving. We see the afternmath of the storm on the way down...we saw accidents (some bad) in the rain at night, and in the daylight in Texas we see a trailer deposited on a chainlink fence, smashing it, and a large sign for a car dealership torn apart like so much paper.
We finally arive home late this morning. I'm so happy to see my dog Odin, and he's just as happy to see me. I miss him and the cats (Pict, Raven, Loki, and Phoenix) when I'm away. I call my folks to let them know we're home safe, and I gratefully flop onto my own bed. I know there's still a lot more grief to get through, but at least I'm home again.
I want to thank everyone and anyone here among my fellow bloggers who expressed sympathy and condolences. It really does mean a lot to me, and it does help. Thank you all, you're the best. Take care, everyone.