Last week was a hard week. Even knowing – logically – that not every week or day will be hard doesn’t make it that easy to get through the dark places. I do thank God we have stuff we have to do. Reasons to get up and get out.
On Thursday, after spending several hours at the office (tax season has begun!), I was wearily driving home when I remembered Steve saying something several days ago about his mom needing more Depends™. Yikes. The last thing we want is to run out of the necessities (a side effect of running out of stuff is she then gets the grand idea of going shopping…the fact that her car is completely gone is not grasped at all these days, and we don’t want her to decide to go looking for it).
OK. Veer right, not left (toward warm home, a glass of wine, my sweatpants, the bliss of bralessness). I’m going to the grocery store.
As I pulled into the parking lot and found a spot. I grabbed a shopping bag from the passenger seat. I was vaguely aware of what the bag was; my focus was mostly on its depth and width, all the better to conceal the contents. I really wasn’t ready to run into someone I knew and have their eyes slowly drop to my purchases, the ridiculously oversized packages of ADULT INCONTINENCE AIDS!!!, and then to stammer an explanation. I’m too tired for all that.
I found my way to the correct aisle and began perusing all the products, trying to figure out which ones I’d bought before and whether I should switch to a different color – would she like white better than peachy nude? Oh look, lavender! I ended up choosing two different kinds and bent over to put them in the shopping bag. It was at that moment that it hit me: I was stuffing my MIL’s incontinence aids into the bag the funeral home gave us to carry Mark’s urn.
This may not sound like that big a deal to you, but for me, everything just sort of stopped for a second, as I thought: “Well, I’m not sure my life can get any lower than this exact moment.” I sort of expected to lose it, right there in the middle of the store; the tears are always right behind my eyelids. But that’s not what happened. I started grimly smiling.
And as I went to check out, I started really smiling. I could almost see Mark, bent double with laughter over the dark absurdity of it all. I heard a coin fall and watched a young boy walk away from his dad and pick it up and hand it back to the lady who didn’t know she’d dropped it, while the boy’s father growled “What are you doing?!” I smiled at the boy — you done good, kid – and turned to leave. Another coin, near the front door of the store. That one’s for me.
I laughed (OK, it was a little bit hysterical, but I laughed) all the way home. And the next days were a little lighter.