Some Thoughts You May Have the Week After Your Parents’ Deaths

You Will Never, Ever Buy Into The Idea That Prayers Do Not Help

Sarah Condon / 12.17.20
1. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish from bed.

2. You will never, ever buy into the idea that prayers do not help. And the prayers of those who have suddenly lost people (children, spouses, parents) will somehow mean more.

3. Suddenly all Christmas books have grandmas in them.

4. You will realize that people will find all of your Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons when you go home to Jesus.

5. Your aunts will be the soft place to land and your uncles will catch you when you fall. Your kid brother will be your new hero.

6. You won’t eat much. But when you do it will be lasagna. It’s okay to only eat one meal a day if it’s lasagna. (Your therapist will tell you that in her religion you wouldn’t even be physically feeding yourself right now, and you will think, “Damn I wish I was Jewish.”)

7. The Communion of Saints will be real. People will show up to help in the strangest most beautiful ways. Organizing linen closets to incorporate old quilts, opening Amazon boxes, snuggling your weepy children on a couch. Your friend Joseph will blast the soundtrack to “The Preacher’s Wife” while organizing your neighbors and friends to turn your house into Christmas Disney so you won’t come home from your parents’ house to a dark house.

8. You will have thought of yourself as some kind of a do-gooder benevolent friend type, but you’ll realize God was just gradually surrounding you with incredible people for your greatest hour of need.

9. You won’t sleep much. But when you do, you will wake up sobbing. You will walk around unbathed and moaning to yourself like some kind of Old Testament prophet.

10. Your mom will have wallpapered after you saw her at Thanksgiving and then up and died a week later. That lady could not sit still.

11. Your dad will have had a momentary coin collection that he was apparently passionate about. Your baby photos will be the only photos on his desk.

12. It will occur to you that enormous grief is like a newborn. You will cry when family leaves you and the house is so quiet. You will wake up sobbing. Mornings and evenings will be the worst. Only there’ll be no infant. It’ll all be your tears.

13. You will comfort 80-year-old crop consultants on the phone. And you will find comfort in comforting them.

14. You will sing “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” on repeat and think it is an old hymn. You will google it and realize that it’s definitely contemporary Christian music from the 1990s. You will realize that this just needs to be filed under “2020: The Year I Learned to Take Myself Even Less Seriously.”

15. You will soothe yourself with thoughts of staying on property at Disney World.

16. You will be terrified for the first 24 hours that you will lose your faith and then realize that you are about to have a baptism of weeping. And you will somehow believe that Jesus is near.

17. You will use the word “tender” a million times a day and have no idea why.

18. You will awkwardly cling to a friend of your mother because they are the same height and have the same haircut and you will blurt-whisper, “I feel like I’m hugging her,” and she will hold you.

19. Your 10-year-old will now be Dr. Phil meets RuPaul. Every time you ask him if he’s okay he’ll shoot back, “Mama, are you okay?” It will be hard on your kids to have a Sad Mom.

20. You will be glad you brought your parents’ nightstands home with you immediately. Your mother told you they sat at the bedsides of soldiers during the war (but which war, Mama?). No matter. They will be massive and feel like the sentinels of your parents, guarding your bed.

21. You will sleep with your childhood teddy bear. Your husband will just say, “Whatever you need.” You will be more in love with your husband than ever.

22. You will pray out loud. On your knees. And you will know your Memaw (the one who taught you to pray) is kneeling with you.

23. When you get the mail, it’ll be hard to know if you’re going to open a Christmas card or a condolence card. And you won’t know which one is worse.

24. You will worry that Christmas is ruined. But you’ll have been promised that the darkness cannot overcome the light.