As hard as the nights are, I've been encouraged by and thankful for how well I feel in the mornings this week. I'm basically in constant state of prayer from the minute my alarm goes off until I'm sitting at my desk (or making that first phone call from behind the windshield, or whatever). The shower feels better than it ever has. The coffee tasted brighter. The sunrise is more brilliant. The singing in the car on the morning commute is stronger... It's actually pretty easy to leave the house, knowing TJ is well cared for, and also knowing that there's so much to do in the day. Just so different than the mornings have been through the last year.
And then, next thing I know, I'm driving home in the afternoon. These first few days have really flown by. I'm basically sufficiently "caught up" with work stuff. And for the first time in months I'm able to actually "do my job" with the clarity of mind and focus that I desire. And it's great to get caught up with people I haven't seen in a while. I've explained to a few different people who ask how work is going this week, "Work's going great! It's kind of been my own sort of 'reverse anaesthesia'." That is, when I'm busy doing the work thing-- planning, working on projects, discussing, strategizing, helping, learning, doing ordinary "business stuff"-- my mind has something positive to focus on. I don't ever fully ESCAPE the truth of what has happened to our family, but the thud in my heart and the ache in the pit of my stomach just aren't as noticeable, during the work day. It's like, emotionally, I've been anaesthetized for the day. And I don't really wake up until I'm driving home. And "waking up" isn't a bad thing. It's good to feel what I'm feeling. It keeps me being the Daddy I need to be. And mourning is healthy and necessary(they tell me). And mourning keeps me feeling close to Leslie. It's just nice to have an escape from the intensity of the emotion involved with all of it during the work day.
Another thing I'm learning: "joy" and "mourning" are not mutually exclusive terms. I still laugh. I still smile. I still feel good. I still watch the Cubs and talk about my usual things of interest-- many of which have no profound or eternal meaning or purpose. I was explaining to my Dad that it's not like we've got an "emotion tank" somewhere in our gut-- where we only have the capacity to hold a certain volume of total emotion. Although this is the greatest amount of sadness and burden I've ever bore, the good feelings just keep happening too. They aren't squeezed out by the feelings of grief or mourning. That's the difference between sadness and depression, I guess. I'm so very sad. I miss her. I STILL can't imagine doing life without her. But I still feel joy. And hope. And peace. And even many little moments of happiness throughout the day. I can still sing at the top of my lungs one of our theme songs we used to sing on our way to the hospital for treatments... "We've both got a lot to be thankful for!" (another Glen Phillips gem). In fact... it's those moments of "feeling well"-- the flashes of happiness-- that allow me to cry in the sad moments. If you're an athlete, you know you can't perform at your optimum level unless you have proper rest. (It's like that in any job, I guess, including being a parent.) Well, mourning's like that, too, for me. I just can't mourn well-- reflect, weep, miss her, cry out to God, experience the depths of the pain of my loss-- unless I "rest" with some laughter, some light conversation, a ball game, some fun every once in a while. I'm so thankful for the laughter. The really special moments have been laughing at a memory of Leslie. Laughing at something funny she said. Something stupid she did. Simply laughing at how she used to laugh. Smiling at the memories of her quirks. In those moments, (and basically this entire week), I've realize a whole new level of understanding of this mind-bender of a quote from Jesus:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kindgom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted."