Remember to Breathe


Standing in a half inch of water, stretched across the bathroom holding up the bobber in the back of the toilet to stem the rising flood, and sobbing is NOT how I planned to start my day. Though I’m sure you’ll agree that probably woke me up far better than a cup of tea, it just was not what I was expecting. Seriously though, in retrospect, I really did look like I was trapped in a bizarre game of Twister.
My 15-year-old son had discovered the toilet clogged the night before and had decided he would need to know how to fix that someday so why not now? He’d plunged it and thought it was fixed. I was relieved. Yesterday was a bad day for grief. I was spent so I just took his word for it. In the morning, when he saw it wasn’t quite fixed, he tried again, not wanting to bug me. Only this time the plunger didn’t work. It took him a moment to realize it wasn’t stopping—he needed my help.
By the time I got there, the floor had a good half inch of water. I stepped in with my slippers on and did the only thing I could think of—take the back off the toilet and hold up the floater-thingy so it would stop running. Now what? It’s the answer to that question that started the sobs. Kraig would know, I thought. But Kraig’s not here, came the reply. You need to fix this.
In that moment this was not an overflowing toilet. This was grief personified. This was all that I was missing, all that I had lost. I realized that later in the day as I started to feel ashamed that I’d completely lost it this morning. I was unable to figure out what to do. I know it’s nothing to be ashamed of but still the feeling lingered.
Thankfully my sister, Bethany, knew to tell me to turn off the water under the toilet. Thankfully the man who gives my son a ride told me which plumber to call. Thankfully the plumber who came was a worship leader at a local church, pastored by a lady who works at my radio station. Thankfully, it was a simple fix and when he found out who my husband had been, he offered to shovel the snow on my walk, just to be nice. Thankfully God intervened through people.
That’s a bunch of “thankfully.”
I felt so bad that my tears had stressed my oldest son. But again, I was thankful he helped feed his little sister and that the kids all got ready for school with minimal help from me. I am not a quitter. I am not a weak woman. But when those questions clouded my head, I was helpless for a moment.
I pulled myself together and got the kids off to school. I got the towels and clothing off the floor, soaked in water, and tossed them in the laundry. I brewed another cup of tea waiting for the plumber. And once he was done, I called the high school to see if they’d get a note to Jarod that all was fine. I didn’t want him to be stressed. The secretary sounded like she thought I was nuts. He never got the note.
I’m also thankful today is the day I scheduled to use my massage gift certificate. After all that emotion and stress, I needed it. It was good to relax and focus on the moment. Afterwards Bethany even called with some solid advice—make a how-to book to have on hand so that if an emergency arises, we know the plan. This our new reality. We need a plan to handle whatever may come. Wise words. Good idea.
I can do this. I know that. I have been doing this for the last seven months. I will continue to figure this out and I’m sure I’ll have other days when it all seems impossible…but it’s not. God did not abandon me here. He provides what I need when I need it. I just need to remember in the midst of chaos compounded by grief to take (my other sister) Alisha’s advice: breathe. Take a breath and figure it out. 
Now to go put the bathroom back together.
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