Staring at the Ceiling

Dearest Rachel –

Even now, it’s almost too early to get up, but I’ve been awake for almost three hours, just staring up at the ceiling that we woke up to for the past twenty-five years. The sun has begun to show its face and shine its light after I’ve been lying in these hours of darkness, wondering what to do next.

It’s been almost a week since I’ve been home; I should be adjusted to the time zone by now. But I’m still falling asleep too early, and waking up way too early. And then, I’m doing absolutely nothing with all that unused time.

It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of things to occupy my time. In fact, as the realization is dawned on me that I’m not going back to sleep, I’ve checked my mail, read some of the news sites that I usually look at first thing in the morning… and then just keep lying there, asking myself, “now what?”

For starters, I do need to get to the ‘office’ today. While it’s true that I have the luxury of not having any assignments that are due immediately – or any boss breathing down my neck about being in to do my job – there are still things that need getting done. It’s halfway through the month of December already, and I’ve just barely closed out the books for October for the church just last week (in fairness, I’d actually had them assembled a month ago, but some new information came in just before the board meeting, so that needed to get done). With any luck, hopefully I’ll be caught up with both November and December by the time the board meets again.

I also need to bring some things over to the folks’ house as part of Daniel‘s Christmas presents. I’ve gotten a few things for him, so I can hand those around to the grandparents and perhaps my sister and her family. They aren’t much, and certainly not what he really wants, but like with me, most of what we want is either intangible or impossible or both.

For that matter, I still have some Christmas shopping yet to do. It’s weird to realize how, once upon a time, back when we were still doing a Christmas letter to family and friends, shopping online was a real novelty, literally worth writing about. Now, it’s almost all we do. I haven’t been in the mall for months, and I have yet to hear anything in the way of Christmas Muzak. I’m sure I haven’t missed anything, but still…

Then there’s the fact that we haven’t decorated the place for the holidays. That was something that you did, that was the sort of thing you cared about. After all, we would actually celebrate Christmas at church the night before and at one of the other sets of parents for the day itself; the celebration was never done at home, so why bother getting the place dressed up for the occasion? The only thing we have at the moment or Daniel’s little churches that were left on the mantle from last year, which he switches on every night as he goes through his evening winding-down rituals, most of which I’ve never been able to stay awake to know what they might be.

We do have your dad’s old wreath, but it’s down to only one of the four colors of lights that made it such a spectacular display. I’m almost afraid to put it out, and run what few working lights it still has down.

I didn’t take it down from where it was hung by the doorway until more than a month after the accident, with Jan’s help.

And speaking of displays outside the house, I probably should take down the flag. Daniel might not appreciate it, but the polls broken in a half hour and the thing that is supposed to rip rest in has partly pulled away from the house. The whole thing needs to be repaired – or maybe replaced. And the flag itself is dangerously close to touching the ground; in fact, there’s a fair amount of dirt on the hoist end from dipping into the bushes. Would it be disrespectful to put it in the washing machine? Probably no more so than keeping it on display as dirty as it is.

You can see what a wreck it is for yourself.

And then there’s another ‘wall of text’ that I’ve received just this morning (at 4 a.m.!), and feel compelled to respond to, out of a sense of courtesy. The lady is taking the time to write these things, but they don’t seem to suggest that she’s reading what I’ve sent her, so I really don’t know what to make of her and her requests. She’s asking about meeting on Google Hangouts regularly going forward; that might be more of a conversation, at least, but her insistence on being some kind of ‘one and only’ when I’ve yet to even meet her sticks in my craw. Even the most reasonable part of her request is a challenging one – do I have a regular time that I might meet someone out there online? I’m sure that, if she was someone I really knew and cared about, I’d make the time; I know of at least one person I’d certainly do that for, if she wanted me to. But this person isn’t her, not yet, not even close.

Oh, and completely unrelated to anything else, there’s the fact that I need to make an appointment to swap out my car’s battery. How was I supposed to know that Costco didn’t do installations? Now I feel kind of silly. I’ll probably take care of that Wednesday, since Kris will be over, and I expect to stay home accordingly. So at least that’s a plan, just not for today – although I probably need to make an appointment beforehand, regardless.

There’s so many little things to deal with, and I have so little motivation. Even as the day brightens, and I step out of the shower reasonably refreshed and ready to take on the day, my heart just isn’t in it. Is it simply the fact that it’s Monday? Or is there more to it than that? I really couldn’t say. All I can do for now, I suppose, is to ‘fake it until I make it,’ as the saying goes.

So to that end, honey, wish me luck. As always, I’m going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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