Monday, December 22, 2008

House-bound Musings

What do you do when you can't drive anywhere?

Take 2 walks a day, instead of one. Clean house. Organize. Take photos. Prepare for a Christmas party. Eat chocolate-covered raisins & drink wine after dinner.

Work from home on your computer. Take a nap. Help your spouse move furniture. Walk twice a day with your spouse.

Ride your bike in the snow. Study. Text with friends. Play "Rock Band." Bug your parents to let you do things that they think are dangerous. Ski on the road. Sled. Argue with anyone who is willing. Play with cats. Take photos. Eat.

Just some ideas.

The photo on the left is from December, 2005, up at Snoqualmie Pass. We went sledding with Jim & Caroline while Gregg was traveling to Japan for work.

In the photo: me, Phil, Katie, Caroline & David. It was a fun day. With all of the snow we've had this week, I cannot help but wish that Katie was here to enjoy it with us. She would have loved it.

We are working on a change in our house: David wants to requisition our loft (the room at the top of the house) for himself and his friends. I love to call it the "teen hangout," which makes him cringe and gag; such fun! Then I tell him, "Daddy & I are just not GROOVY," and he gags a little more. It's really entertaining.

The loft was supposed to be an office/art-craft studio for me, but it's too far from everything else in the house to be convenient. It's far enough away that it may be like a treehouse, or fort, to David. It has 2 skylights; you have to walk up an alternating-tread staircase to get to it, and it has a view of the water. David and Katie loved to spend hours up there, using their imaginations, making up stories with playmobil. In fact, over time, the entire place became a playmobil city...with an airport, truck stops, castle, modern houses, apartment houses, construction sites, cabin, motorhome, fire trucks, grocery store, etc. We recently decided that, when David was ready, he could dismantle the playmobil and I would take my stuff out of the loft. He could then move his things up there, with the TV from Katie's room, and some sort of furniture (to be determined later). It would be his own place to hang out with friends.

You must understand that this meant disassembling things that he and Katie had put together. Things that he hasn't used since she was unable to climb the stairs to the loft...since she became unable to stand, and then paralyzed from the waist down, shortly before she passed away. He was very reluctant to change anything, and we weren't pushing him. It's just a change about which he had to make the decisions, when/if he was ready.

Once it's changed, it won't ever be the same. He's a bit old to play with playmobil, but it's the memories that are hard to move. Things that she placed, just so, with her hands.

Katie left her playmobil to David, in her will. David still thinks of it as hers.

He took a video camera and filmed it all, the way they had arranged it; I thought that was a great idea. Then he put the playmobil in boxes, labeling different sets of items, and he and Gregg stored it in our basement.

Now, I have to get my art & business things out of the loft, and David has to get his things out of the playroom, so that I can move my things from the loft, into the playroom. The playroom will be my office/art-craft room. Are you still with me?

I have been shredding many years' worth of documents that were in the loft (thanks for the inspiration, FLYlady!). Today, we moved Nana's kitchen table down from the loft to the playroom -- so that I can use it for sewing and crafts. (I should have taken a photo of that operation, lowering a table through the lightwell, but I was busy helping David & Gregg move it.) I have moved the sewing stuff to the playroom & cleared our dining table of quilts, so that it can be used for our Christmas party. I am getting excited about the cleaning, organizing and the party itself. We've invited our family and some neighbors...there should be 30-40 of us, depending upon the snow. Will it melt? Stay tuned...

Here are photos from the last time we were able to host the family Christmas party, in 2005:

And Christmas morning, 2005.

David got his driver's license last week; we went to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard, to celebrate (before our real blizzard arrived). I am a bit of a nervous mother these days, since my little sweetheart passed away. It's hard to let David do anything that has risks involved, yet I don't want to limit his life, or turn him into a timid young man. All of life has risks. I've been told that this is normal, given our situation. It's a stress that we have to learn to balance.

I have been feeling depressed during the past days; I miss Katie so very much. It's hard to get ready for Christmas without her. She would have loved our family party; everyone will miss her.

She taught me so much about life. She brought out the best in me, taught me about what really matters, opened herself to me, and we became closer than I have ever been to anyone. Her passing has left an enormous hole in our lives; we miss her presence, painfully, every single day.
I am having a disoriented feeling this week; I don't know what my purpose is, without Katie. Being David's and Katie's mother wasn't the only purpose in my life, but it was the largest one. Not being able to mother her any longer has disabled what I thought my life was about. I am just not sure now what it is supposed to be.

Gregg and I had a discussion recently about our view of life, the world, and our place in it. We share a common view, though we came to it via different paths. We both know that we are a bit like snowflakes: no two alike, beautiful, brief. One might have a brilliant life, but it is still one of billions of lives in the history of mankind, and is of short duration. We know now that "the worst" can happen during this life; it has happened, to us & others we know. In light of that, what shall we do with what is left to us? The "retirement" that we might have imagined working for seems rather empty now. We discussed: What really matters, now that we know we will never have what we dreamed/envisioned/hoped/worked for? We will have some of it --we are thankful for what we do have: our beloved son, and our love for one another,-- but never, ever in this life will we be able to hold, take care of, share with, be with, give love to Katie. We have to let go of that dream, and all that goes with it.

So I wonder: What is the point of my life, now? What shall I do? To what shall I devote my energy and abilities?
I think only God knows, and only in God's way/time will I find the answer.
Prayer and love are learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and the heart has turned to stone. -Thomas Merton


Kay said...

What a beautiful post! I know moving things is hard. (I think that is one reason we've never moved away from our tiny house.) Seek and listen... praying your answers come.

ps.. the hubs and I went to Snoqualmie Falls before kids. He was in Seattle on business and I flew up for a weekend. It was bitter cold at the falls.. 'yep there it is' and we ran back to the car! LOL

hdbl said...

and faithful He is

and faithfully He will let you know.

you are prayed for across the miles.


Smileygirl said...

Just being YOU is purpose in itself. You are in my thoughts and prayers a little extra this week. The holidays are not easy.

After all the hustle and bustle and snow stops falling I would love to get together. Sending you warm hugs and peace in your heart.


Busy Bee Suz said...

I love all the family pictures from your parties...what a lovely family you have.
David is moving on. That is a really good sign for him to do this. I am sure it was not easy either. A "teen" hangout sounds great. You can call it a Romper Room, he will love that one too.
Karen, I often wonder some of the same questions that you have since losing Katie. I wonder to myself, if anything happened to one of my girls, what kind of life would I have? I live for them and to take care of them...I just don't know. I supose God has a plan for us.
Take care,