Late one evening, the night before a glorious Easter morning celebration, we received a phone call.
The worst kind of phone call.
I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and padded to our little office. My husband was standing there, phone still warm in his hand, all colour drained from his face.
He stared at me–almost through me-and uttered the unthinkable: “My dad died.”
We bundled our sleepy babe up and numbly loaded into the car. It was pitch black outside. On any other night, we would have had to slow down to make sure we pulled into my in-laws driveway. But not that night. From half a block away, we saw the brash lights pulsing irritatingly against the inky black sky. We heard sirens wailing against the silent night. Half a dozen emergency vehicles marked the entrance, guiding us towards a devastating reality we couldn’t turn back from.
* * *
I still look to see if Glen is puttering around the shop when I pull up to the house. I expect to see him pop up from his workbench, his face lighting up as I heave Asher from the carseat. “Hey Ash-man!” I wait to hear him call out. Out of habit, I pause to let my son scramble out of my arms, beaming at his Papa, to awkwardly sprint down the gravel driveway.
But that doesn’t happen anymore. Not for nine months now.
In these nine months, the fabric of our family has been ravaged. Seams have been ripped apart, exposing ragged edges. Threads are hanging down, all tangled up and unkempt. And we don’t really care if we look a mess. Because we are.
All these raw edges and dangling threads are awkward for others though. In their own disbelief and hurt, they look for ways to come alongside. To offer something concrete in a season marked by walls caving in. In the absence of logic or reasoning or understanding, there is only one thing to offer.
48 hours after the most horrible tragedy our family has ever faced, our freezers were packed. Cheese-laden shepherd’s pies, gooey cinnamon buns the size of my head, and fettucini swimming in vats of Alfredo sauce.
So. Much. Lasagna.
I’m not sure what it is about lasagna that people feel lends it to grieving process. Perhaps that it’s an all-in-one meal sort of thing. I personally believe it’s because of the ten-hour carb-coma you find yourself in afterwards. Whatever the reason, we were lasagna-d to the hilt.
So in the days after Glen’s passing, I would sit down at the table, another slab of lasagna staring me in the face. I would look blankly at it, wondering if drowning in a sea of ground beef and stewed tomatoes really would quell the sobs catching at the back of my throat.