|by mhartford, used with permission|
Honestly, I was surprised that they were out in it. It was the kind of rain that not even an umbrella can protect you from. If you have to dash from your car to a building, the umbrella might keep your head dry, but the blowing rain will get your legs and arms wet. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that the garbage men were just wearing regular clothes -- pants and T-shirts. I guess I imagined some sort of rain suit. But no. It was their job -- rain or shine, hot or cold -- and they were doing it.
Since April, I've been dealing with a lot with my family, helping to care for my grandmother in her old age since my mom, her primary caretaker, was battling her own fight with cancer. People keep telling me that I'm doing a good job. That they can't believe how much I've been doing. But really, I'm just doing what must be done. I'm doing what any of you would do in similar circumstances, and what I know many of you have done. You've cared for colicky infants, children born closer together than you intended, children with special needs (or very average needs for that matter). You've helped friends who are in crisis, you've continued to show up at work or care for your children or serve the Lord when your life has been turned upside down by death or divorce.
I'm sure that doing their job under extreme circumstances gives those garbage men some stories to tell. I'll admit that my circumstances have gone beyond ordinary, but as I seek to care for my husband, my kids, as well as my mom and grandmother as well as doing all those things I do, I know that I've been given a story to tell. I've changed for the better. I'm learning to act on what is truly important.
For my mom, her battle is over. She did what she had to do. She fought as long as hard as she could. Longer or harder than any of us would have, I think.
I haven't written much about any of it. I was too busy doing to capture my thoughts and record them, but I hope to write a bit more about it to preserve the reality of now, because they are already being distorted by memory and circumstance, and I know that will only happen more as weeks and months and years go by.