I woke up this morning, not to the shrill blaring of my radio alarm clock, or to a shaken shoulder but when my eyes opened and turned to the window. It’s been a long few days and today I have nothing planned. I did a mental body check of all my ailments: Fibromyalgia aches and pains were present, my right leg still hurt but was manageable. My knee still throbbed from my recent fall on the icy pavement but my mood was good. I had ten hours of sleep and while the sun was not shining it could have been. There was no snow in the forecast, reason enough to celebrate.
I started driving to the supermarket, because food, comfort and love equals nurturing for me. I didn’t really need much except an idea of what to cook for tonight’s dinner and a destination. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the grocery store and new items celebrated my return. Marshmallow yellow chick peeps out the day after Valentine’s Day? Okay. A discounted box of chocolate covered cherries? I love those and I am not proud. Sugar cookies to make for my children and various treats for my dog, Callie’s, upcoming birthday in March. (shh! it’s a surprise party.)
I felt a little guilty because the simple, routine, “mom” things that I was able to do today, I did with less grief. As many of you know, my friend Dawn died on Friday night and after the wake and the funeral and some time, today I woke up void of a dark, painful shadow. Then I remembered Dawn’s family, her father and mother, her husband, her siblings and her three children not able to escape the haunting grief. I felt guilty for being relieved and it pains me to write this. I have been in their place before when my father died so I know, I truly KNOW what they are going through and how much it hurts and for how long. I grieve for my friend, the twinkling green-eyed Dawn, but not the same way her children, her husband and relatives are grieving. Not even close. I feel bad that I have the luxury of distraction.
Strolling through the market I decided what I would be making for dinner, ravioli with a thick marinara sauce that I add a small can of tomato paste to, a store-bought fresh pizza, mozzarella and tomato salad with basil with drizzled olive oil and a multigrain loaf of Italian bread, still warm to the touch from the bakery. It’s rare that my family eats at the same time these days but I feel happy with them just being home, together for a little while. Next year, with my son in college, it will all be very different.
That is why today, a simple trip to the supermarket and a walk through Target with a Starbucks gift card felt special. I bought a skinny vanilla latte with a shot of espresso to manage my afternoon weariness. The simple touching of my dog’s fur, and playing with her outside in the snow felt like a gift. An ordinary day at the supermarket felt, to me, like a five-day vacation to the Bahamas. It’s true that you don’t appreciate normalcy when you have been overwhelmed with an abnormal amount of grief and sorrow or horrible pain from any disease. A simple day that ends with a hot bath, sleepy eyes and a half-smile, is indeed, a miracle.