"Ralexwin's dad died last night, sometime around midnight. ... Naturally I am sad, but it's still sinking in. When I woke this morning to the sounds of the Mischievite's cries I smiled and laughed and loved him and fed him. Then I remembered [all that had happened last night] and the sadness hit, washing away my happiness. ...
We've never dealt with something like this before and I don't know how Ralexwin will handle it, nor do I entirely know how to care for him in grief. I do know Ralexwin needs me to be strong, efficient and in control right now. That always seems to be the role I get [but I don't mind]."
Sometimes marriage is a strange, surreal sort of existence. You spend the first half of your life dreaming about being married and having children and the second half trying to come to accept that you aren't dreaming anymore.
Experiences that you only prepared for in passing soon become distant memories recorded in each others journals and relived in one another's minds.
The lives of two people become strangely melded into one vast collection of trial, tribulation, happiness and joy. One life becomes strangely melded into two persons.
When Ralexwin's father died our life was faced with a new and unwanted experience. You imagine your parents passing away in their sleep at 95. Not suddenly of a heart attack at 69. Time seems to slow to a snails pace and the grand view of life is opened before the eyes and the realization that there is more to come, settles onto your shoulders.
We were in the middle of life building. The Mischievite was only 6 months old and there was more children yet to come. Death was not at the forefront of our minds.
It was a rough time.
The morning after we heard the news we hopped into our car and drove the 10+ hours from our home to the funeral.
There was so much shock in our systems that every moment seemed heightened and tangible. The children cried for their grandfather without quite understanding what death meant. Ralexwin reminisced about his childhood and I grieved for my harsh judgement of my father-in-law.
Because of his military service, Ralexwin's father was given military honors at his funeral. We stood straight and proud as Taps was played and Ralexwin's brother, in full military uniform, was able to present the flag of our country to his mother.
Later Ralexwin and I would both remember different things from that time. Ralexwin would remember the happiness of having all of his siblings together in his mother's home while I would recall the tear streaked faces of his many brothers.
Our mutual experiences once again melded to create one complete memory.
Our grief was muted by the presence of one another and once again the strength of our commitment to each other grew.