go ahead, clap your hands.

I finally held Dave’s death certificate on Monday night.  It shouldn’t have been a shock, but it was.

I flinched.
I cried.

It reminded me of the game my little brother loved:

Are you afraid of a monster this big?  He’d ask, arms outstretched, as wide as he could reach.

No, I’d claim.

Are you afraid of a monster thiiiiis big?  He’d ask, hands and arms only shoulder width apart now.

No, I’d assert.

Then are you afraid of a monster thiiiis big?  His hands were less than a foot apart now, right in front of my face.

No, I’d say.

Are you sure? He’d goad. Hands still in front of my face, holding the shape of the smallest invisible monster he’d shown me yet.

Yes, I’d say– confident in the way that only a small child can be– and as soon as I staked my claim, his hands would clap together.  Loud and fast.

And I’d flinch.  Every time.

If you weren’t scared, he’d laugh, why’d you flinch?

Why, indeed.

I wasn’t scared of the big monster.  I wasn’t scared of the medium-sized monster, or the small monster.  I was shocked, by the sound and the fury of the space where a monster could have lived.  Somewhere between the living of life with a little brother, and the dreaming of the monsters he created, was the waking up– and waking up hurts.  It shocks the senses, burns the eyes, jumpstarts the heart.

 

I know my husband is dead.

 

A piece of state certified paper did not tell me anything that I didn’t already know.   I won’t be binge-watching Aliens this year on the 26th, celebrating my anniversary with a homemade gift I can fit in my pocket.  I won’t kiss my way into the new year.  I won’t wake up to french pressed coffee unless I make it in my sleep.  I won’t blog as I listen to rumblings about how restaurants putting lettuce or rice in a burrito is basically a scam.  A world-accepted soul-sucking burrito scam.

The paper doesn’t know any of that.  It only knows that he died.  I already know that, more than anyone.

So why did I flinch?
Why, indeed.

I guess I was shocked.

Somewhere in the space where I know he no longer resides is the whole rest of my life.  A dream and a life, full of motion and sound, and it clapped right in front of my face.  Loud and fast.  I woke up to it, and waking up hurts.  It shocks the senses, burns the eyes, jumpstarts the heart.

Since that night, life has been a medley of legalities and followups.  With the death certificate, I can now close accounts, contact social security, change patent and copyright ownership, take over control of his books, repair tax situations, claim benefits, resurrect accounts that were joint once upon a time, etc.

It is an expensive, time-consuming process.

I am okay, but annoyed at myself, for how often these things make me wince and flinch. It bothers me when the sadness rises in my throat and when the fear of filling his space paralyzes me.

I just want to be able to say that I am 100% happy, and mean it, but I can’t. It all reminds me of this dinosaur joke that floats around the internet:

clapyourhands

When someone sends it my way, I always tell them– that’s okay, sometimes part of life is waiting for the next verse.

If you’re happy and you know it, stomp your feet– rawr! rawr!

That’s been my mantra this week.  Wait for the second verse.  Be patient. Be still. Enjoy the joy of everyone who can clap their hands, and let that joy fuel you.

I want to clap, too. I want to play. I want to be able to say that I am okay and fearless and happy. I want to be able to know it and show it.

But everything comes with time and patience, and I am certain a verse suited to me will come along one day. There’s a life filling up the blank spaces and it is a beautiful one. I will be there, with big strong dinosaur feet, ready to stomp.

Should I be sad just because I can’t claim to be totally happy yet?

No.

Am I afraid of a life this big?
Am I afraid of a week this big?
Am I afraid of a day this big?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

But I’d rather flinch and be awake to the joy around me, than spend my time hiding from invisible things.

So go ahead.
Clap your hands.

 

_____________

howiwidow

157 thoughts on “go ahead, clap your hands.

  1. I haven’t even read the post, but I have to comment because …

    A was saying he wants to spend time with people, but would it be weird if people were Ra? (NO.)

    And then I refreshed the browser, and saw this image (posted 37s ago), and looked down and my very similar t-shirt before grinning and saying, “Well, now, I call this all a sign.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Haha, yay! We miss you guys. Mamasaur is gone this weekend so I’m home with the house family, but you should have seen her last week. “Should we go over and bring them food?” “I can clean their kitchen if they need help. They were so tired.” “I bought little cups so Littler J can move the fruit from one container to the next.”

      My phone is on the fritz, though, so email if you or A or anyone wants to get together. Love y’all. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A and I read this post together. He only sighed as he read it, so I can’t know exactly what he was thinking or feeling.

    For me, I would say I’m reading a book about a refugee from Vietnam. Only minutes ago, I read an excerpt that seems so appropriate right now:

    Did I run the luck
    of the whole family?
    Is that why we’re here?

    My child,
    how you shoulder the world!
    I was superstitious, that’s all.
    If anything, you gave us luck
    because we got out
    and we’re here.

    Lucky to be here?

    Just wait,
    you’ll see.

    I don’t want to wait.
    It’s awful
    now.

    There are three boys–one tiny, one little, and one big–one bedroom over who are sending you much love. I am with them in that. No matter whether things or messy or tidy for you, no matter whether we get to say it or not because we’re always running around trying to figure out where we’re supposed to be any given moment, we are sending much, much love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never fear, I feel it. 🙂 It’s like having candles and matches in an easily accessible place. You don’t necessarily pull it out all the time, but knowing it’s there allows you to enjoy the thunder instead of worrying. I know y’all are there. It makes a big difference. And yes, that quote seems rather appropriate. 🙂

      One of my favorite lines in Kipling’s “If” poem is … “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.” It goes hand in hand with the idea of luck lost or luck gained, or luck earned. They’re just labels we put on events, when it’s all really just.. life.

      Not to say that Life, labels or not, can’t knock you flat on your dinobutt. I’m proof of that, 🙂 But I remain… hopeful. Thanks to friends like you. ❤

      Liked by 3 people

    1. 🙂 Oh good, it’s always good to know I’m not the only one. Hugs, claps, and thuds right back, Jaded… I know I’m not the only one going through the first verse. Just as I know we’re both going to get a chance at a second verse where we can really stomp out our happiness to the world. Love you. ❤

      Like

  3. I don’t know what to say that will offer some comfort, except that you *will* have happy days again because you have all you need to make it so, given time.

    If I was there, rather than words, I would fill the space by offering you the warmest, largest hug I could manage, as I readily would for all my friends and loved ones.

    You are not so far away in our thoughts and our door is always open – whatever you need. I’ll be listening for your stomping feet.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Dan. Hugs are appreciated, valued, loved– as are friends such as yourself and your wife, no matter how far away y’all are. 🙂 ❤

      Like

  4. Oh Ra, thud. And another thud too. Of course you flinched and cried, he was your person. Anything that brings the reality of it to the forefront may do that for awhile. And that’s ok. I love you chica ❤ xo

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Oh you made me cry. You and your beautiful words, and I know nothing can replace the happiness you used to feel, but it can only get better, and sharing your beautiful memories of him bring him alive. You make me appreciate everything in life, and I know so very many people appreciate you. “sometimes part of life is waiting for the second verse” ❤ sending huge hugs and so much love your way, you managed to wring my heart on your behalf ❤

    Liked by 5 people

    1. There’s so much to appreciate here in this crazy little place called Life, and I’m glad if anything I write ever brings attention to that. 🙂 It makes it worthwhile to put out there. Thank you for your kind words, and hugs, and love. ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I know I truly can’t send strength over the Internet, so maybe it’s better that I say, if you need any help or support to accomplish the tasks before you, I’m here. I can drive you, whatever. You tell me how I can help. Or ice cream. That fixes a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 😀 Ha! Strength received, Shari. You must be magical! But I suppose I knew that already. 🙂 Thank you for your offer to help, I may end up having to take you up on it once things get somewhat sorted into a checklist. You’re the best. Thank you!! ❤

      Like

    1. Oh I do, 😀 I just reallllly wanna be able to say “Yes, everything is totally fixed. I’m 100% happy now. 🙂 In the meantime, I’m pretty grateful to be able to walk around mostly happy. 😀 *hugs* Thank you, Dani.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Sigh. I couldn’t say aloud that my sister had died for years. It hurt me to hear someone else mention that she was, in fact, dead. Like you, I knew that. But hearing it, saying it, oh Lord, that was crushing.

    Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thud indeed. You can’t avoid it – there was a piece of reality in your hand, hard to avoid. But your spirit is so strong, one day you’ll be able to celebrate Dave’s life with smiles instead of tears. Just wait…time is a great healer, and all of this is so new.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Clapping, clapping and clapping. Peace will come. Happiness will come. I’m living proof. Didn’t happen until I was close to fifty, but it did happen. And when it did, all the sorrow of my life melted like watercolors left out in the rain. Stay strong.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I know that all of your blog family is always striving to help you reach your verse. Trust me, I’m not clapping either, but someone recently reminded me I’m actually unable to give up. So onward into the darkness until we both find our better tomorrow.

    ECHO ECHO

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I know how weird it is to see a death certificate for someone you love. It’s cold comfort, but I thought my dad’s was a rather pretty document.

    I hope you ordered extra copies; there’s a chance you may need them. Some people ask for the original copy, while others only want a photocopy. If you have a few, then you can send originals to anyone who asks for one. It’s been a couple years, but if you need some help navigating the red tape, call me. Everything should be pretty straightforward, but I’m here if you need it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s true. The certificate is billed exactly right… it’s a certificate. Full of shiny things and swirls. 🙂 Thank you for the help. I did get extra copies, though so far everyone has been good with copies thankfully. I may just take you up on that offer, though… everything is all so new. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  12. It is always amazing to me. With all the junk you’ve been through and look at you. You’re so positive and warm, down to earth, real, and optimistic even in sadness. *hugs* It’s inspiring to see at just what percentage you LIVE your life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Daphne. The truth is, I like life. No matter what’s happening, it’s still life… which means either on a macro or micro level, it’s beautiful and magical. ❤ I just have to adjust my lens sometime. Thank you for reading and supporting. ❤

      Like

  13. Oh Ra. *hugs* *morehugs* I wish I was there to help you with the things you need help with.

    Yes, grief is a horrible garden to have to tend, yet tend it we must. For a time, until it’s time to stop. I am thankful you have a lot of love in that watering can.

    Love ya, sweet girl. *hugs*

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Oh Ra…I wish I could reach out and hug you. The finality is so deathly quiet, it’s deafening…if that makes any sort of sense.
    My brother died. At the time I found out, I didn’t even know I had a brother. Yet from the time I was a child, I longed for a brother. I had a reoccurring dream that my brother had been kidnapped. And then about twelve years ago, I found out I wasn’t an “only.”
    I had a brother…
    a twin brother.
    I cried.
    I told my friends about him.
    I cried.
    Now, the knowledge that I had a brother, a twin brother, is so bitter sweet. I still cry, but there is also joy within the pain. I…Have…A Brother.
    Dave will live in your heart together xxx ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Rara, it’s ok not to be ok… Ok? The little monsters are the toughest ones. You don’t see them sneaking up on you, and they manage to get in through all the nooks and crannies and gun for your Achilles heel. But as well as the little monsters that make lots of noise, here are little handfuls of love that make it to you from one continent to another, from one blogging girl to another. Here. It’s for you. Give yourself time. Huge squishy hugs.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, MM. *hugs* As to giving myself time, I suppose I have no choice on that. Luckily there aren’t too many more monsters on the horizon, just the really rocky road forward. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey ho, it may be rocky, but it’s a road, but you have lots of people to help you along it, and it can take you to some pretty cool places if you believe it can. I bet that the view from the top is awesome, too. I’ll bring the picnic, and Mrs Playmo wants to come along too.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Rara, I’m so sorry. You have an amazing way with words, even in grief. I read your post, and thought that it can’t be true. You have portrayed such a vital relationship between you two that it’s palpable even over the internet. Comfort and blessings as you go through this difficult time of life.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you. I was lucky to have a relationship so real that it translates over these wires.. and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have a community of people where so many knew him independently of me, as well. It’s a comfort. Thank you for the kind words and blessings. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You have many people out there to whom you can turn. We are not close, but I lost my first husband when he was 47, and we had been married 20 years. The experiences don’t replicate each other, but I can testify to life after loss. Thank you for putting yourself into words.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I’ll toast to that. I think of you each day knowing how your life will change in so many little as well as momentous ways. I know you will sort your way through it, but it is exhausting. Rest much. Let people help you along the way.

            Liked by 1 person

  17. :hugs: and yes he was right it is a big burrito accepted scam. :hugs: as you wait for the second verse but I think your stomp the feet works well no matter the time. Meantime, as others have noted clapping hands helps fairy-kind and I am a fan of fairies.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Hugs girl, lots of hugs.

    Also little brothers are terribly rotten. Of course they are also endlessly lovable. Basically they are just a happy problem.

    (and then one more hug.)

    Liked by 2 people

  19. My favorite was always “Row, row, row your boat – gently down the stream…”

    My father would sing it whenever I needed some motivation. Still suits me to this day.

    Just as “If your happy and you know it” very much suits you.

    When were both ready, I’ll join you in that stomp. & Maybe afterward we can go on merrily, merrily, merrily…merrily.
    😉

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Your words and imagery are so heart-breakingly beautiful. I’m stunned speechless after reading, trying to come up with something to say. I can only hope that their sheer beauty and power bring you some kind of healing and completion.

    May I send you a hug? I feel honored to read these precious, glorious, fragile words. You are rawesome and I am here sending you “quiet little skulking about the background” claps and thuds.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I am so sorry for your loss. I recently received my mother’s death certificate, twenty years after the fact delivered with my grandmother’s effects. It made me flinch in the same way you describe. I don’t know why either. I can only speculate that it is because despite the knowledge and supposed processing of grief, there is a part of me that denies it all, wanting mom back and that piece of paper makes that impossible and so the realization reverberates up my spine like getting the wind knocked out of me. I suck at air, wishing it was easier to breathe.

    Fondly,
    Elizabeth

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Elizabeth… I am sorry for your loss and for every breath of griefridden air you’ve had to breathe. I know its all part of living, but I wish a gentler life than the one I’ve had on everyone. *hugs*

      Like

  22. I’m glad I ‘Discovered’ this post. Ha. Exile on Pain Street is a part of Dave’s legacy. And yours. I see all the crud in the world—presidential elections madness and horrific violence in God’s name—and then I read people like you and it’s enough to fill me with irrational hope. Hope you’re okay. Happy holiday. It’s a new year in three weeks. Make a wish. You never know…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I make wishes every chance I get because of exactly the reason you stated– you never know! 🙂 I am doing as alright as I can be, Mark, so I am calling it a win. And this world, despite all the crud, is still is a pretty wondrously connected place where we get to be part of each others legacies just by doing what we do. So, today at least, I’m calling the world a win, too. 🙂

      Thank you for asking, and for reading, and for popping by via Discovery. Happy holidays! ❤

      Like

  23. You are the best! I have been through a similar situation and i know it hurts to clap your hands in the space of nothing and no one and i dont cry because i feel like im laughing at the fact there not there to give me a cuddle of comfort. Don’t laugh in the face of death, cry in the face of happiness……..or clap your hands!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I don’t know what you are going through. I hope I never have to. But I know a lot about grief and trying to find your way to this state of “normal” and trying to fully grasp what it means for you. It sucks.. it’s awful. I’m really sorry you are in this place.

    But I did enjoy your post and I know others will too.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. You’re a beautiful being, Ra. My mother always tells me we are spiritual beings having a human experience. So maybe you cannot clap now, maybe you’ll wait a little bit for that second verse, but at the same time when you journey to your next spiritual experience I believe you’ll be with your husband and clapping will ensue.

    Personally, I’m more of a stomper myself.

    :::hugs:::

    Liked by 2 people

  26. For a post that started out making me want to cry, it left me feeling strangely uplifted and inspired. I had never though of that picture that way and that is an amazing mantra to live by. Mine is “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam”. Keep on clapping and stomping because you’re incredibly strong 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you… I take my lumps with a heaping helping if hope. I’m glad that came through. May your way, whether it be discovered or forged, be kind to you. Thanks for reading. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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