Wednesday: My mom got to New Zealand and we had a fun day playing with Hugo. It was great to have her here with me after quite a few months.
Thursday: We went to the midwife appointment together, got to hear baby's heartbeat, and then went shopping for baby clothes. We didn't buy much, since she was told to try and convince me to hold off on making any baby purchases until after my surprise baby shower.
Friday: Just after midnight, we get a phone call from my dad. It was 5am US time so we knew something must be wrong. He gives us the news about Katherine.
Now here's where things got weird for me. My dad gave me the news on the phone, and immediately I started to cry. I handed the phone to my mom, and within seconds I pulled it together. I won't go into too much detail, but the next 48 hours was spent in a state of shock and disbelief. My mom came back to the US on Saturday, and I took another day here in NZ, and hopped on a plane on Sunday.
Now everyone grieves differently. That's clear. And I'm trying to convince myself there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Since I was so far away from all of this, here in NZ, and I hadn't seen my sister in 9 months, everything seemed surreal to me. And I figured that was normal. So I expected a full on meltdown once I got back to California and really was exposed to the reality of it all. Well, I got in on Sunday, spent the day with the family, but still was unable to cry, unable to even feel sad. It didn't feel real. And I felt guilty. Everyone around me was so sad, crying a lot, really grieving. So what was wrong with me? I loved Ducky. I missed her, I thought about her all the time. She and I were probably the closest of all my sisters... so why couldn't I feel anything?? Anyway, sunday ended, still no change in the way I felt. On Monday, I went with my dad and sister Jennie to meet with the priest in charge of the funeral. I came prepared with questions and ideas to make the funeral exactly how we wanted. Still, no change in how I was feeling. And for the next days, I just seemed to be so busy... making the perfect programs, picking the readings and songs, choosing flowers, picking Katherine's outfits, finding pictures and things to display, writing a eulogy to read at her funeral. There were just constantly things to be done, and I took charge and did them.
Then came Wednesday... the viewing. This, I thought, would be it. The moment when all of this would sink in... It would become real. And partly, it did. It made me sad, to see my baby sister laying there. I cried. And then pulled it together. And then cried. But that overwhelming sadness, it never came. I wanted so badly to hug her and talk with her, but instead of being so overwhelmingly sad, I just kept thinking about all the fun and ridiculous things we used to do together. All the great times we had. How much I loved her. And of course I was sad. But just... not how I expected to be. And even at the funeral. I was sad, of course. I cried a little. But I laughed. I thought of Ducky's life, and how she lived, and I smiled. I will miss her more than I can even describe. But I can openly and easily talk about her, and smile and laugh at our 20 years together, and not cry. And I feel guilty. Does this mean I'm not coping? Or not grieving appropriately? Is it going to hit me when I am least expecting it?
We are here back in New Zealand now, and my sisters and parents are back in the US, and I know they are still grieving. They are still hurting. A lot. And I don't know how long it will take for them to heal. Everyone is different, I know that. But I feel a little lost at the moment... not how I expected. One thing I do know, is that while I'm glad to be home in NZ, I am going to miss my family more now than ever before.