Thesis Statement: I am inexpressibly grateful for my surviving family.
I practiced domestic relations law for a number of years and did a fair amount of pro bono work in juvenile court, which in our county is the place in which parental determinations in child abuse and neglect cases are made. I have no illusions about what can happen to marriages and families under stress, or about what people can do to one another out of frustration or anger or for no apparent reason at all. My husband gave me a very funny card early in our marriage and my legal career, a card which referred to what he insisted what was my naturally pessimistic nature. I used to tell him in response that my getting out of bed every morning was a sign of indeflatable optimism.
My family has been under some considerable stress for the past eleven months: mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, legal. Most of us, I'm sure, don't think much about what our family and friends undergo in all realms of life as a consequence of sudden death. I remember my father talking about how, in the 1950s, no one thought of purchasing life insurance on women who were homemakers. Losing a wife when they were both 28 and being left with two small children impressed upon him the invisible but real economic value of the work performed by wives and mothers at home, as he found himself having to pay for the childcare, cooking, cleaning, laundry, transportation, shopping, and scheduling tasks that had been my mother's. I'm sure that when he ran into friends, they remarked with sympathy upon our loss, but had little awareness that his morning may have begun with a crisis due to a sick babysitter or a checkbook that would stretch no farther to cover expenses not previously considered, any more than people at seminary, concerned about assignments and tests, know that I may have begun my day with a heartwrenching email from an attorney or insurance company.
And so, I am, yes, inexpresibly grateful for the Quiet Husband and for the Gregarious Son and the Lovely Daughter, each of them steadily doing what needs to be done each day, each of them quietly supporting one another and me through both tears and smiles, through the unexpected conundrums that arise almost weekly, and through conversations no one should have to have. My husband's season as a girls' soccer coach has just begun, my son is making plans for an LSAT prep course, and my daughter has begun her Americorps orientation. I know that each of them is weighed down and disoriented by a considerable burden, but they are all looking toward the future as well as the past. It could be so much worse . . . .
I think they're all wonderful.