The New Normal

Posted by Kim on Wednesday Jan 1, 2020 Under Dear Tru

Poppy’s gone.

Just 2 words. 2 powerful words with a shattering impact.

He was larger than life. Indestructible. And vital to us all.

He took care of everything. He answered all of our questions.

Everything seemed possible because Poppy would see to it.

See, sometimes in life, we get so used to how things are.

We get into a groove.

A comfortable pattern.

A steady flow in things.

We float. We coast. We skip along.

And everything feels in perfect synchronicity.

Then all of a sudden the lights go out. And we find ourselves stumbling around bumping into everything and we don’t know which way is up.

That’s where we are. Lost in the dark.

Arms out stretched, feeling our environment.

Searching for something recognizable. Something familiar. Something that makes sense. Something safe.

Who will bring you sausage and mustard on Saturday mornings?

Who will eat the candy and stuff that I don’t like or shouldn’t eat?

Who will package boxes for me and see them to the UPS man?

Who will get glass from my foot or a splinter from your hand?

Who will fuss at the dog’s because they crowd the front door?

Who will get the mail and lay it on my desk?

Who will fix the garbage grinder when I jam it up?

Who will tell us stories and make us laugh?

Who will go out into the world and find crazy stuff and show up with it and shock us?

We are realizing that what was, will never be again.

There is a new existence among us. A new world in which we must learn to speak the language, in hopes that one day it will feel normal.

Life is funny like that. Things start off awkward and foreign until, the next thing you know, it’s normal.

Long ago it was just me and Daddy living at the beach in a simple, tidy condo with Byte, our little dog. I was teaching. Daddy was working on computers at his small office. Grammy and Poppy were at their home in North Carolina. We were happy as could be. We didn’t think things could get much better. That was our normal.

Then, when we weren’t even looking, we found a house with an office and warehouse next door. It was the perfect fit for our lifestyle. We snatched it up. Poppy came down and practically remodeled the house, converting it from business use to a home. Daddy just walked across the parking lot to work each day. He was now next door, so I could be with him and at home at the same time. Byte had a yard to explore and we got a golf cart to take rides around Windy Hill. This was perfect. Life was great. That was our normal.

One day I found out I was pregnant. Baby things filled up the rooms of our house and months later we came home with you. The energy in the house totally changed. Rooms were used differently. Stroller rides replaced golf cart rides. New routines and rituals fell into place. Grammy and Poppy moved down to take care of you. They devoted their entire life to you. You were Poppy’s “buddy pal.” Each day when I’d pick you up, Poppy would have a written list of feedings, diaper changes, and they recounted the events of the day and it was all said with laughter. You were everything in their eyes. They were so proud of everything you said and did. It was our home away from home…homes intertwined. Several nights each week Grammy cooked a yummy dinner with dessert. Life was better than we could have ever imagined. We were on top of the world. That was our normal.

A few years went by and you grew older and bigger. Before we knew it, you were going to start school. Daddy knew that Poppy would be lost without his buddy pal, so he opened a gun shop for Poppy to run. Poppy had always been a collector. A gun shop would be a fun way for him to spend his days. And he loved every minute of it! Since Poppy didn’t know a stranger, of course he made dozens of friends that sat around each day and listened to his colorful stories. Everybody loved Poppy’s stories. Daddy bought a bunch of chairs for the shop so they all had somewhere to sit and visit. Daddy and I came and went at our leisure as you gamed on your computer at the shop with Poppy. Grammy read her books and took her daily walks. We all found our place. We all fell into a perfect rhythm together. We each did our own thing, right there next to each other. One independent of the other, yet completely connected. It was pure bliss. That was our normal.

We began to unravel when Grammy got sick. Stress and worry entered into our days. Poppy and Daddy were distracted at the shop. Poppy adjusted and would come and go more throughout the day. Daddy researched and tried various things to help Grammy. Daddy started cooking dinner each night since Grammy couldn’t anymore and they came here to eat. Things were tough, but we were all together. That was our normal.

Then Poppy got sick. He struggled with his routine, but he kept on trucking. He didn’t complain, just did what he needed. We all did what he needed. Grammy left us in September. Poppy carried on in high spirits. He got down in October with a broken hip, but he recovered so well from the surgery, that he was better than before. He was on the up and up. He ate dinner with us Saturday night (collards and black-eyed peas with corn bread) and laughed at you catching M&M’s in your mouth, but he didn’t come to breakfast the next morning. He didn’t answer his phone either. He was gone. We found him peacefully laying in his new recliner chair. All of a sudden, we were alone here. All the building of life over the past ten years, the layers of love, blown away in a puff of breath. We are back where we started, just me and Daddy, but now we have you. This big, wonderful life that wove itself around us and through us, is now memories. This is our new normal.

With each normal, life got better and better. At each point, we thought it couldn’t get any better, and lo and behold, it did. Each time we were shocked with more happiness, more joy, and even more love. It didn’t seem possible, yet it continued to happen for us. While I write this in fear, I’m clinging to an even greater hope.

I fear we have arched. We reached the peak. We went so high, that now we must come down. But, I hope that this life taught us many lessons. Knowing Grammy and Poppy wasn’t a simple thing. It was beautifully life-changing. Their capacity to love selflessly is something we are profoundly fortunate to have been the recipients of. When you experience that kind of love in life, you are deeply touched. You carry on differently.

Pa holding Donna, Mama Brown, Poppy, and Grammy
Grammy, Poppy, & Daddy 🙂
Grammy, Tonia, & Poppy

I’m not sure what our normal will be now, but I know their impact will heavily guide us and influence us. Their love is within us, a solid part of who we are and hopefully, who we will become and that makes me feel so very good.

I love you too much.

4 Responses to “The New Normal”

  1. Whitney Says:

    Beautifully written! I hope you all find peace in all the sweet memories. I know your new normal will take some time to get used to but you have each other and a wonderful life so I know you guys will keep making memories and they’ll be right there in your heart making them with you. ❤️

  2. Janice Jennings Says:

    Kimberly, this is so sweet and so describes the Love you shared with Grammy and Poppy, Poppy loved you all so much and when i think that he and Grammy gave up their home in N.C. to move and keep Tru it is such a love that they shared for you all.I remember Poppy bringing the sausage biscuits on sat. and the joy and friendship he had at the gun shop,all his buddies would come and take a seat and tell all their stories and have a happy time.Always remember the Special Bond of love you all shared, What precious memories to hold in your heart.Times you will always remember with Love .Years of special happy days. All my Love to Grant you and my Tru, Mom

  3. Miriam marcos Says:

    Thanks for sharing ! Poppy was obviously a very special person. I know you’ll find comfort in each other’s love and in all the wonderful memories that live on that you created together ❤️

  4. Debbie Miller Says:

    Kimberly, you so beautifully shared a real life and the delicate details that made it so special. You were so very blessed to have lived it and now you obviously cherish those memories. What wonderful memories of a wonderful life. I know you realize this just doesn’t happen everyday. All of you were so special to Grant’s parents. I could even feel the love! You write so incredibly well that I feel your pain in the absence of what was normal. I love you…❤️

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