It happened again tonight. For the first time in a month or so.
I was walking through a Wal-Mart I don't normally shop, one that has undergone a fairly major "overhaul" in the last month or so, looking for the fabric department. My oldest is in a school play tomorrow, and I needed some red felt to make ladybug spots for a black shirt she'll be wearing.
After several minutes of wandering, it slowly began to occur to me that in the renovation, this Wal-Mart had completely eliminated its fabric department. And yarn. And all things crafty. I was dumbfounded. Sure, we have a Hancock's and Hobby Lobby nearby. And yes, the quality of their merchandise is much higher than anything you could ever find on Wal-Mart's shelves. But, where in the world will I go the next time I'm staying up until the roosters crow trying to finish a baby afghan and lose my crochet hook? Or need just one more skein of white cotton thread to complete a project? Really! I can't even imagine not being able to make a 2 a.m. run to Wally World for thread.
My mother and I have whiled away many happy hours over the years sitting in Wal-Mart leafing through the Vogue and Simplicity pattern books while sipping Coke Icee's.
It upset and surprised me to the degree that I reached for my phone. "Mom's gonna be so upset!" I thought ... and then, once again, the realization that has broadsided me a million times since September 10th.
Adjusting to the sudden loss of someone dear to you is a lot like being given a pair of really small shoes and being told you have to leave them on your feet for the rest of your life. There's never any lessening of the pain. The shoes don't get bigger, nor do your feet get smaller. You may learn to block out the pain, but it is always there. Every experience you have from that moment on is clouded by the pain which ranges anywhere from a dull ache to sharp and stabbing. There's no escaping it.
Since my mother's passing, I have watched my dear friend Angie go through the same thing. And now, another friend, Lisa, is facing the loss of her mother. I've been through everything they're experiencing, and I feel as if I should be ready with some kind of deep wisdom to share. You know, words of comfort from one who has already walked through the valley.
The problem is, I'm still there. Journeying through valley of sorrow is a very long, extremely painful trek. I used to ask the question, "How long before I don't feel this much pain? How long before I can get through a day without tears?"
I've stopped asking those questions and started accepting that the grief process is much longer than I had expected. From what I've read, working through the various stages can take as long as several years and is not a process to be hurried along. It can sometimes mean two steps forward and three steps back. And that's okay.
And it can sometimes mean flipping my phone open in the middle of Wal-Mart to call Mom about the most trivial of occurrences in my life. And being reminded all over again.