Posted by: donrhymer | March 13, 2013

When It Rains…

I think I need an umbrella.

A few weeks ago Andrew noticed that a baseboard in our family room seemed to be pulling away from the wall.  A plumber was called and confirmed that we indeed had our third leak in our copper pipes in the past seven months.  The first two had been handled with a minimum of mess and chaos.  But this one was different.  This was a leak in the pipe in the concrete slab under the house.

The first people to arrive were the dry-out crew, who set up dehumidifiers and air scrubbers, just in case a nasty mold had begun to grow.  Next came the demo crew, who started opening walls where the water had begun to flow.  The custom hardwood floor in the living room has been removed, leaving the bare, cold concrete exposed.  The copper re-pipe team has toured the house, ready to start their job of replacing all of the copper pipes this week.  They told me the house would look like Swiss cheese until all the holes could be patched.  As I said in a previous post, it’s a big house, so this is no small job.  The living room furniture is living in the dining room for the time being.  Add to the list the electrician, who had to be called to repair a circuit that was blown when the plumber jack-hammered the tile floor to find the leak.

Hopefully the pipes will stop springing leaks every few months.  The holes in the dry wall will eventually be repaired.  The hardwood floor will be replaced and sanded and stained and sealed.  We will repaint.  The furniture will go back to its rightful place.  Everything will seemingly be back to normal.

Except it isn’t.

This leak at the foundation seems an apt metaphor for life these days.  My rug has literally been pulled out from under me.  With Don’s death, I have been broken down to the barest of elements.  My sense of home and normalcy is disrupted and chaotic. Layers have been stripped away.   Holes are opened and exposed.  I am in desperate need of patching.  Much like this leak, grief stops me in my tracks and makes me pay attention to what is going on.

I started writing this on Sunday night and it’s now Wednesday morning.  I have no idea how to finish this post.  I showed it to Andrew and he said, “Just write what you feel, Mom”.

I feel sad and raw.  Nothing seems quite right.  I miss my husband, my love, my friend.  I have no idea what my “new normal” will look like.  But I know I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I know I need an umbrella.

– Kate



  1. Oh, Kate. I wish I could give you a hug. Know that you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Achingly beautiful, Kate. And to continue the metaphor, it seems like repairs always take much longer than you expect. Know that we are with you in the long journey to healing. Love you.

  3. Kate: I love your honesty. I hate the pain. Thinking about you, and I really enjoy hearing from you and your kids through Don’s blog.

  4. Kate: I’m praying for you. i’m so sorry that life can’t just give you a much deserved pass on these difficult things. Forgive me if I am overusing your analogy, but most of us have some leaks in the pipes which we just choose to ignore, until we can’t, just because we don’t want to suffer through all the hard work and frustration that dealing with it takes. Like if we pretend it does not exist, then it really does not. But whether its a leaky pipe, or emotional pain, it does not just go away, but keeps getting worse and worse from our neglect. I am praying for strength and grace for you as you walk in your grief, not pretending it does not exist, and for healing that can sustain you in the moments of life.

  5. Dear Kate, I have followed this blog for a few months. Your words touched my soul, especially today. Let’s put it this way, our shoes may not be the same “size” but they are the same “brand” – just got mine in January. I am so sorry for this journey and I are on and wish you a bit of sunshine tomorrow. Take care – yes, one foot in front of the other…

  6. Guess I didn’t “proof” it well – that is a “YOU and I”…lots of fog 😉

  7. So through these early days of acute grief, somehow you continue to put
    one foot in front of the other, taking care of the things that must be done, and you breathe. And while now you may dread the thought that a full breath will never come to you again, Kate, one day you will be aware that you are, in fact, starting to take fuller breaths and bigger steps. Perhaps barely perceptible at first for a painfully long, sad time, but surely it will be so for you. You have enormous strength and talents to share with others that will provide abundant grace to sustain you. And you will know joy again.
    That joy will co-mingle with the sorrow of losing Don’s physical presence and perhaps soften your darkest moments. I hear your despair and wish, as does everyone, that I could magically whisk it away for you.
    And finally, may I add, be gentle and patient with yourself. Your family has
    been through so much with Don”s death, of course, but also with the emotional turmoil of the ups and downs of his treatments. I cannot even
    imagine what it was like for your family to live through those days. My guess
    is your reserves are pretty spent and this is the time to quietly replenish.
    You will Everyone is pulling for you. xox

  8. I feel your pain…I have an extra umbrella if you need it my friend…
    Love you Kate Rhymer….

  9. Thinking of you Kate and the kids. I can’t imagine how you go about finding a “new normal”…I believe it is going to take some time to just process what has happened and what better way than to put your thoughts down on paper. Hugs to all of you. xoxo

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