The day begins.
Before the sun rises the dogs and I go outside.
The dogs are anxious watching my every move, anticipating their food.
I hear the kettle begin to make its heating noises.
I put the dogwood in the dog’s bowls and pour a little hot water over their kibble and let it set.
I measure out the oatmeal and put it in the microwave.
I poor the hot water into the pot of the brewer and start the coffee making.
The dogs are made to wait as I put their bowls down. The older pomeranian is allowed to eat some first before the younger mini aussie can have his. He looks at me waiting for the signal to begin.
Brown sugar and raisins or maybe a banana accompany the oatmeal.
My husband comes down the hall. The dogs greet him. I pour his coffee while he spoons brown sugar into his hot oatmeal.
“Did you sleep okay?” we ask each other. Familiar phrases and questions are passed around the table.
Routine can be a comfortable thing. Some folks depend on it ritualistically. Others, like me notice it in passing and stop sometimes to watch it, observe how it weaves our lives together.
My husband hugs me tightly. Sometimes we linger there. I smell his aftershave. I wish him a good day. We are both missing our son, but sometimes we only share that common thought through the touch of our hug. He leaves for work.
Around 8:00 a.m. I try to make sure I have my phone nearby. Our daughter will call and if she doesn’t I will call her. I try to remember before I call if this is a day she will work from home. She might be sleeping in and I don’t want to wake her unnecessarily early. She and I always talk about her brother. He has either visited her in her dreams or something of our shared sadness sparks a memory.
In my studio there is photo of my son and I in Maine. His arm is looped over my shoulder as usual and I have my arm around his torso. He is beautiful, barely smiling. A german couple took our picture together because we had taken theirs. I ache to hold him again, to hear his voice, to feel his arm around my shoulder.
I will cry for a while. The little pomeranian always seems to know and comes to me begging for me to pick her up and hold her. She snuggles me while I sniff and blow. Sometimes I direct the unanswerable questions at her. She looks at me with dark unfathomable eyes. She offers me the comfort she can provide and it is a huge gift.
This too is a part of the routine that gathers itself like a wave some days to wash around me and on others sweeps me out into the sea of grief.
We miss our son, the brother, the nephew, the cousin, the friend.
I miss you so much sweetheart. I can’t get used to this part of what is now the routine.