I don't want to.
I woke up one morning last week with those words running through my head.
As I lay in bed, I let my mind tell me all the things I didn't want to do. The list was long, and petty, and whiny, and persistent:
I don't want to get out of this warm bed.
I don't want to walk down that long driveway with the old dog and get the newspaper in the freezing cold.
I don't want to get the girls up.
I don't want to make breakfasts.
I don't want to make lunches.
I don't want to make peace, if necessary, between siblings warring over the bathroom and personal space and anything else they could think up.
I don't want to drive them to carpools and bus stops.
I don't want to walk the dog in the mud and cold and clean her up afterwards.
I don't want to cook, to do laundry, to scoop the cat boxes, to go to the bus stop, to make dinner.
The entire day stretched in front of me as one big DON'T; the only thing I did want to do was stay in bed all day long.
Reality check: My life is pretty easy; I'm blessed with friends and family and animals and work that I love and a warm house. I can hike with friends and dogs on a regular basis. I can buy food at the grocery store. I can turn the key in my car's ignition and know that it will start. I can afford gas for the car, and insurance, and maintenance costs. My jeans fit and my boots are watertight and my coats are warm and water-resistant. I thought of all these things. I scolded myself with all my blessings. I railed against my ungratefulness.
And yet the parade of DON'Ts continued, finally crashing into I DON'T WANT TO REMEMBER THAT THE ANNIVERSARY OF MY BROTHER'S DEATH IS ALMOST HERE.
All the other DON'T's suddenly made sense, and I felt something shift inside me.
And so I got up and made breakfast, and lunches, and walked the dog, and edited a book, and the sadness lifted.
Year by year by long year, I'm better at being grateful for his life, and not so hooked into mourning his death. I'm not sure what more I can ask for.