I woke up Wednesday morning to the news -- stunned cold, stricken, physically immobilized by shock and disbelief.
I knew Tom. Not as well as I know Angela or their five year old daughter who's one of Bean's best friends, but enough that when I caught a glance of him last Monday, from 15 feet away, out of the very farthest corner of my eye, in the dance studio where our daughters take dance, I knew immediately who he was, and shy little me could comfortably stop to chat.
Enough that I miss him. I feel his absence already. The absence of knowing that he's there.
His broad-shouldered form has followed me everywhere I've gone since Wednesday morning. He was just out of the corner of my eye as I glanced over my shoulder in Costco, leaning against the wall in the hallway at the preschool when I picked up Peabody, once even standing relaxed in my own kitchen, fingers loosely wrapped around a beer, then a big-bear's outline in the passenger seat of Angela's car as I saw her drive out of the neighborhood this afternoon.
It's a new one on me, this sudden disappearance, this instant, gaping-hole sucking of a life right up out of my every-single-day world. And I confess I don't know, on my own, in any tiny corner of my brain or heart -- simply can't concoct a single fiber of an idea - how to even lock eyes with Angela. How to make myself into a shoulder strong enough to bear a piece of what she now carries, this impossible weight that fell on her in the blink of an eye. How to stand there, breathing, alive, in front of her. Just me.
Yet Wednesday morning, my heart flashed like lightening to her side the instant I heard the news. It left at 5:57 AM. The rest of me was on her doorstep 3 hours later, after I got both kids to school. In those three hours, everything inside me silently screamed one short prayer.
Please just take me and make me do what she needs.
Just take me and make me do what she needs."
And I've been busy ever since. Not of my own doing. Only because He heard, and He leads me, and for once (for control-freak, do-it-myself me), it's much more comfortable for me to just follow than to try to figure this one out on my own.