Break in Routine

This may explain my absence of late. It is a column I wrote for the paper I work for–the Kingsville Reporter:

It is in routine that we find sanity. My morning routine varies only in the way, the manner, the order I do things, not in the things I do. I wake up, check my bedside clock, and if it is any time after 5 a.m. I turn on the light that stands guard and dark during the night. I swing my legs out of bed, and now that I am a bit more creaky, I make sure that my right knee is ready for the weight of the day. Depending on how it feels, I hobble or when I am lucky, walk to the bathroom, after donning my housecoat. Minor ablutions done I go back to my room, grab my cell phone (which is a new addition to the routine), turn off my bedroom light and use the flashlight app to go down the stairs, so I will not wake up my son who is asleep in his corner room.

As I open the door to the downstairs, the cat greets me with a high purr—more like a chirp and he swirls around my legs as I make my way to the kitchen. Sometimes on the way, I veer off my path ever so slightly and turn on my laptop so it is ready for me after I finish my other little chores—the first of which is to feed the cat. He waits anxiously as I fill his dish—first with his dry food, then with a dollop of turkey and kidneys, or chicken pate, or beef chunks. Kitty Bob does not eat just dry food—he is really quite a connoisseur.

Only after the cat is happily crunching away do I make the coffee. Some days I have to rinse out the glass carafe, and then empty out the grounds; other days the coffee machine is clean and ready to go. I go with the flow. I fill it up, usually making 8-10 cups, then get out the number 4 filter and crease it so it fits into its magic chamber. Then I count out the spoonfuls of coffee. Sometimes I am thinking of something else and get lost in my counting—so I pour the coffee back into its container and start over. Some mornings I get it right the first time; sometimes it takes me three tries.

Usually as the coffee goes through I check out my email and Facebook and twitter, and now instagram to get an idea of what is going on in the lives of my friends and family. On Monday mornings, if I have not been a good girl and written my column I start to write (this is one of those mornings). When I hear that the coffee has run through and awaiting me—I leave… (this is me leaving)………….

I pour two cups of coffee and navigate my way to the living room—leaving one on the coffee table for my husband and mine on the table beside my red chair. Usually I watch a little CBC and GMA, and read the daily paper, but this morning the paper has not come yet, so I return to my laptop and this column with coffee in hand.

I am thinking of breaking this routine—as watching television news in the morning can be unsettling—but I have not done it yet. My routine though will be broken at the end of the week because of something that happened over the weekend. Something unspeakable. Yet I find I must speak of it. I do not want it to be a footnote to this column, but I am not ready to fully embrace the wholeness of it yet.

My brother John, who lived in our lovely town for almost 30 years, has gone on, for lack of a better term, to a “better” place. I have faith that he has not been lost to the ether, but that he is in that other dimension we, on this earth, are not privy too. I am beyond sad. Grief is such a personal thing—I find it comes in waves—sometimes with a little anger thrown into the mix; sometimes tears. I am trying for the life of me to think of ways that I made his life better—but I can only come up with ways he made mine better—from teaching me how to skate when I was little, to tutoring me in math. To inspiring me to become a writer (admittedly of sorts), and to encouraging me to go to university. All along the way, he was my mentor. We talked books and philosophy and family. He was curious and smart, devilishly clever, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a friend and a brother—and now again as a son, I imagine him back in the fold with my parents.

I comfort myself in the routine. It is in routine that I find sanity.

Published in: on April 9, 2015 at 10:09 am  Comments (44)  

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44 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ah, routines…the warm, soft blankets that protect us from the cold harshness of the world…..embrace them.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about this. *sends hug* I hope you find comfort in the routines of everyday life; yes, it does help.

  3. Oh LouAnn, I am so sorry…grief has its own timeline and rhythm and it certainly throws a spotlight on the comfort of our routines. I have no doubt though, that you enhanced your brother’s life as he did yours. That’s what love does – and it transcends all.

    • I hope I did enhance his life a little–and you are right–grief does have its ups and downs–thanks Mimi

      • I have no doubt that you did far more than enhance his life a little…you enhanced his world A LOT…

  4. Oh LouAnn I’m so sorry. Don’t sell yourself short, he clearly loved you, you were obviously so special to him.

    • I hope so Sarah–thanks for your support–though I would have expected nothing less from you

  5. ❤️

  6. You are such a wonderful person that there is no doubt in my mind that you were always a bright light in your brother’s life. You must remember how lucky you were to have such a close relationship with a sibling because for many, including me, it is not like that. I wish I had such a relationship, so hold it tight in your heart and your memories. He’ll always be with you! Oh, and by the way, it is in routine that I find my sanity as well :).

    • yes he will always be with me–and I will hold the memories tight–and it is routine that helps us through–thanks my good friend

  7. This is beautiful LouAnn.

  8. I am so sorry for your loss. With my own ongoing grief, I have lost routine so maybe that is what needs to happen next. Thanks, LouAnn.

  9. I send you love and hugs across the ether. He gave you so much and I am sure found great pleasure in doing so. He obviously loved you as much as you loved him and your memories , I am sure, will help you through this difficult time – as will your routines.
    Love to you, LouAnn, from your friend in Cornwall, UK.

    • thank you so much for your lovely words of support–your hugs and love count for a lot

  10. Condolences on the loss of your brother. There is no rule book for grief and mourning. Do as your heart dictates. What a great gift he was in your life, and I’m sure he felt the same about you. I send you prayers for strength and solace and a hug just for you.

  11. Lou Ann, I am so sorry for your loss, and I understand what you say about being able to just do the mundane an repetitious things… as that’s what keeps your mind a little more active and for a time a little respite from the pain that you feel… take care.. Diane

  12. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  13. Dear LouAnn. Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your brother.

  14. Oh dear. It is hard to hit like for such a sad post, but I hope you know what I mean. As we have talked about before, there should be a “I’m here for you” button. I hope your memories of time with him help ease the sorrow of your loss. Here is a virtual hug. Can you feel it?

  15. I’m with Robin. Clicking “like” for support. Sending my thoughts and prayers to you. Brothers really are so very special. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  16. Oh dear Lou Ann – I’m sorry to hear about your brother. My brother passed away over 12 years ago & I still grieve. Just take it one day at a time. My thoughts & prayers are with you & your family.
    May John rest in peace.

  17. I am so sorry to hear of your brother and the grief you are in. I hope your routine, your family, and your obvious strength help you heal. Hugs, my friend, hugs.

  18. My morning routine starts with me getting up and going to the bathroom after waking at whatever time, I then go to the kitchen jab myself with a needle pour myself a glass of Pepsi Max ( I don’t drink coffee) turn on the laptop and start reading emails after a bit I go in get dressed and return to the computer, unless I have to drive my grandson to school then I get dressed and leave the house

  19. So sorry to hear about your Brother LouAnn. My peace be with you and your family.

  20. Sending deepest sympathy in the loss of your brother. It is good that you lived so close. Routine does help, but sometimes you just need to break it, and take some time to just breathe and come to terms with that empty space in your heart.

  21. As you said, grief never looks the same for two people and we all deal with it in our own ways. I’m beyond positive your brother considered you one of the most important people in his life because that’s the special bond that siblings have, no matter how unsure we feel about that fact. Sending you my condolences and utmost support to get through this a little at a time.

  22. I’m so sorry to read about your brother’s passing. Sending warm hugs to you, LouAnn. x

  23. Hi LouAnn, So sorry to hear about your brother, John. Routine can be very helpful as you say, especially when the heart is hurt and so sad. And change can wait, I reckon. Something I found helpful last year when my brother went to the other place, wherever it might be, was to write a kind of eulogy for him Well, it was for me, really, of course, as such things are for the living, but it was good to revisit our childhoods and remember his favourite things and sayings and music and some of the silliness to ward off the grief just a little. Anyway, thinking of you and your family, and there is no doubt at all that you made John’s life better, too, LouAnn, of that I am sure. Jay.

  24. I’m so sorry for your loss, LouAnn. Routine helps. Like you, I sense my departed loved ones in a dimension currently unavailable to me, and nonetheless there. xoxoM

  25. I am so sorry to read this, LouAnn. It was so sad to read, but in the sadness you paid tribute. So sad that we must lose each other. I hope it’s temporary.

  26. Sending you a hug and my deepest sympathy. I think its perfect that you could only think of the ways he made your life better.
    Only he could make the list of how you made his life better.

  27. My own routine has been completely thrown off of late by health issues and other happenings so it’s only now that I’m catching up with my favourite blogs and learning of your recent loss. I am so sorry! Please accept my belated condolences.

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