When I decide something needs to be done around the house, I do it. I don’t wait until I have all my supplies together. I don’t measure and plan. I should use a level, but I don’t. I just jump in and get started. Sometimes, I can MacGyver the project and get it done. Sometimes, I get frustrated when my MacGyvering doesn’t work and I’m left with a hose reel hanging halfway off the wall or a room half painted or a ceiling fixture halfway connected.
Sometimes – many times – my methods leave me with bruises and cuts. Take, for example, the day I decided to attach a new, tall bookcase to the wall. The ladder was in the garage (soooo far), so I grabbed a kitchen chair and climbed up. As I increased pressure to screw in the bracket, I changed my footing on the chair … which tipped over backward. I ended up on the floor, my legs tangled up with the chair’s legs. One of my legs was instantly swollen and bruised, and I had a bump on my head. Let’s just say I’m well-acquainted with the reality of gravity.
Sometimes, I don’t see the accident coming and I don’t have time to do anything to stop it. But sometimes, I do. Last week, I decided to switch two TV’s in our house. For one, I had to climb up on the bathroom counter and unscrew it from the wall mount. For the other, I climbed up on a small desk to unscrew it from its mount. By the time I’d climbed back up onto the bathroom counter and installed that new TV, I was getting a little tired. So while I was standing atop the desk, heavy TV in one hand, screwdriver in the other, I started struggling to hold up the TV. It was cutting into my hand. Its weight wasn’t evenly distributed and it was wobbling. I gripped it tighter, which hurt more, and because most of my focus was on the TV and my hand, I started to lose my balance. Even though the TV dug into my hand even more, I gripped it tighter and steadied myself. I did not want to drop the TV and break it, and I really didn’t want to fall off that desk with the TV. I held on through the pain and was able to finish what I’d started.
That image of me, gripping something through the pain, holding on when my nerves tell me to let go – that feeling of having to do something because I just don’t have any other choice – came to me this week as I thought about my mom. I don’t want to think about her in that Hospice bed. I don’t want to think about her funeral. I don’t want to think about our shopping outings. The time she told me she would’ve offered to be a surrogate for me if she hadn’t already had a hysterectomy. Her love for my kids. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Halloween. Her fudge. Her giggle. Her weakness and confusion. Her words to us near the end: “I love you all. No matter what happens, I love you all immensely.” I don’t want to think about any of it, because it hurts. And the gravity of reality is so much more painful than the reality of gravity.