Monday, August 18, 2008

One day down...

Back in the saddle this morning. So much catch-up to do. The day was over before I knew it started... and then...

(cue: refer to "The Nights are the Hardest")

TJ was so wonderful tonight after things settled down around here. Monday is his day to be at home with his Aunt Dana and her 4 boys, who generously will make it their routine to make the half-hour early Monday commute from Wheaton so he can start each week in his own house while I kick off the work week in my office in Schaumburg. He's trying to make sense of this new routine, I think-- pretty "punchy", over-stimulated, rather abrasive... not "himself". Yes, he's only just 3. But I know my boy, and he's wrestling. Perhaps it's a little of psychological projection, (I'm wrestling, therefore I perceive him as wrestling as well), but not entirely. He misses his mommy. And he doesn't know how to behave in the midst of it.

But after things quieted down (around dinner time after Dana and the boys went home), and he had me and only me to himself, he graduated back into his usual thoughtful, inspiring, lovey little self. He was CONSTANTLY giving me kisses and smiling at me. We cooked a GREAT dinner together, thanks to the fresh chicken, potatoes, and asparagus that Dana left for us. (And a little help with some wild mushrooms and prosciutto I dug up at Trader Joe's on my shopping/re-stocking excursion on the way home from work.) We had so much fun, and he cleared his plate, except for a few bites of chicken I "helped" him finish. Then a bath that-- to his delight-- I ran WAY too deep (mommy would've scolded me). He didn't put up a fight as I dried him off and put on his jammies. He knew it was off to the basement for peanuts and baseball.

The Cubbies had the night off, so we rooted in futility for the Brewers to lose, in hopes they would drop another half-game back on our boys. No dice. BUT... TJ hit about a dozen home runs (complete with slides into 2nd, 3rd, AND home plate) in our side-game as we watched. Then we played a little band as I picked up the guitar for the first time in over a month. (The fingers are still tingling a little.) I think I sufficiently wore him out, because he didn't put up a fight even once as I took him up to his bed, gave him his paci (a habit I hope he grows out of so I don't have to "break" him of it), and read him a book as I rocked him in our chair. In the middle of our prayer after the book, he spontaneously began asking a lot of questions about mommy. Not totally spontaneously, I guess. He happened to notice a sweatshirt of hers that has probably been hanging in that same spot in the guest room-- just within view of the rocking chair-- for about 3 months now. He asked why it was there.

"Because Mommy doesn't need it in Heaven."


"Because it's never cold in Heaven." I of course had anticipated this question/response from him. "The sun is always shining, and Mommy is never cold. So she left that sweatshirt right there, because she doesn't need it."

"But how did she GET to Heaven?" He asked. He always asks his question as if it's the OBVIOUS question to ask... like the 800 pound gorilla in the room... yet they are always so beautifully spontaneous.

"God carried her in His arms. Like Daddy carries you up the stairs at bedtime. And He was giving her kisses on her cheek and whispering 'I love you'." I nuzzled him and whispered in his ear as I do when I carry him to bed. "And she is SMILING very big right now, watching us rock. And her ouchies are all better now!"

That was apparently a good enough answer for him, because he grinned behind his paci and just stared at the sweatshirt through his door in the other room. While I wiped the tears off my cheek.

He's asleep now. And night sets in...

Tonight I'm more pissed than sad. Pissed that "life goes on". Pissed at the stack of bills that awaited me as I walked down the stairs following that beautiful little exchange. Pissed at the insurance company and the hospital for BOTH informing me that a portion of some bill from 3 months ago is now delinquent because they can't figure out whose fault it is that one of Leslie's hospital stays wasn't pre-certified.

Spouses of deceased policy holders or dependents should be exempt from such bull*&^@!#. Oh... and we should be exempt from paying bills that were mailed and came due in the month that we were in the hospital and then retreating for "bereavement" or whatever. Oh... and we should be exempt from the flu. And bad weather. And telemarketers. And door-to-door salesman. (Guarantee that dude wishes he never asked TJ where his Mommy was.) (I almost feel sorry for him.)

Of course... then the tugging of the Spirit, and I eventually feel guilty and repent of my bitterness and lack of grace. What good does that do anyone? What good does that do me in my situation? I don't want to take it out on anyone, really. I just want a little escape. I really just want to go walk the dog and look at the moon and have a beer... but isn't it neglect or something, to leave the house unlocked and unattended-- if even for 10 or 15 minutes-- while your 3-year-old sleeps alone in his room? You know, he's fully capable of getting out of his crib by himself... and getting himself down the stairs... and opening the storm door... Yeah, maybe I'll just let the dog out back tonight.

Listen to me. This is "Day 1"-- in about 27 Kajillion (God help me)-- of "the rest of our life". And I need an escape. I just got back from a freaking 3-week vacation. And I need escape. The flesh is weak...

Props to you single parents out there who've been managing this way for years, and have years to go before you're visiting the grand kids and taking trips to Vegas with your other single-parent friends... (is that how it's supposed to go?) How do you do it?

I know, I know... God provides. In our weakness...

I seriously need to figure out a way to get the dishes done, the bills paid, the mind focused, and my body ready to sleep by the time I get him to bed. These nights alone just may take their toll after awhile.

Or maybe it's just a bad night.


JoDee said...

I pray you are asleep by now. Actually, it sounded mostly like a beautiful night ending with a huge dose of very real questions and longings.
Battle on, warrior.

Kim said...

I agree that you shouldn't have to deal with all of the bulls%@$& that you have to....that sucks. I hope you were able to sleep last night. I also wish I lived closer so that you could have taken that walk and had a beer.

Just take one day at a time. Still praying!!!

Anonymous said...

You are such a great Daddy! As exhausting as parenting is, what a blessing our best little 'friends' are. :) So sorry you have to deal with all of life's #%** too!!!! Yes, you definitely should be exempt from it all. Hang in there!! Praying for you and TJ often!!!

Carrie S said...

I am glad you are venting and feeling everything that any one of us would feel if we were in your spot. What happened and how things are going does stink, but it stinks because we just want to understand and figure out why these things happen, and it just isn't that simple, is it.
Being a working Mom I can understand the juggling act you are trying to figure out with keeping up a home, taking care of your son, and working every day. It is hard and you just do what you can, but savor the precious moments as I am sure you do. Wish there was more we could do for you, but we pray for you and we are hurting with you.
Keep up your writing it is a great way to express and get things out.

Marci said...

Tyson, God will carry you through this. Easy for us to say, huh? You are in our prayers daily. God will never lay anything before us that we cannot handle. TJ is so fortunate to have YOU. Milford

Anonymous said...

Bless you for being so authentic! You could so easily put on a front and not admit to such angry feelings... Keep plowing through it.. you'll be better for it! I'm just so sorry you have to walk through this journey.... I wish I could pray Leslie back to you! It isn't just Leslie being carried off in God's arms... I believe with all my heart you are also being carried.... the 'pain' of it all is that the 'carrying' is taking you on 2 seperate journeys...when the "dream" was to take your journeys together... so sorry! Lifting you to Christ....

Anonymous said...

It's ok to be angry at God. It's ok to vent, and scream, and yell at God. God is certainly big enough to handle it all, and He loves you no matter what. You are HIS child the same as TJ is yours...and you know you love TJ even at melt down times. You feel more love and compassion for him, because you know what he is going through...Just as God feels more love and compassion for you because He knows what you are going through.
Right now you need to be loving on your little one, and mourning and learning to live a new normal together... Sure, the housekeeping duties are looming over you, and overwhelm you as can only do what you can at the will get taken care of eventually...and that's ok. There's a song that has helped me through some trying times, an oldie for sure, and I don't remember all the words.

I'm only human I'm just a woman
Help me believe and all I can be and all that I am
Show me the stairway I have to climb
and Lord for my sake please teach me to take one day at a time
One day at a time sweet Jesus that's all I'm asking of You
just Give me the strength to do everyday what I have to do
for Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus and tomorrow may never be mine
So help me I pray show me the way one day at a time.

Praying for you, and TJ, and holding you up to our God,
A friend

Anonymous said...


You can do this! I have been reading your blogs for close to two months and your strength is amazing. I can honestly say, there is only one place a person can get that much strength and that is from above. Keep it up, you are doing a great job!
I lost my mother when I was young and had to eventually go through counseling. You have to grieve. It is not only natural, but necessary. Anger is one of those steps. It's okay to be angry. Keep your faith (reading your blogs have re-installed some of mine). You are a great father and you will over-come this.

Lisa said...


my heart aches for you and I hope every day you find some peace even if its a tiny bit. I cant even begin to imagine how your heart aches during these lonely nights. But I can feel it through your writing and I wish more than anything that you and TJ could escape from all of this for however long you wanted to...and when you return the house would be clean, bills paid, grocerys stocked, laundry that you and TJ could concentrate on healing. I think a fairy godmother is in order here!
Lisa & Mike

Tylertopia said...

Praying for you and little TJ every evening. Letting out your frustration and anger at life is a very healthy part of healing. You are so filled with grace and faith...and the love and strength (even in tears) you show your boy every day is truly amazing. Leslie is certainly smiling proudly at you both from Heaven.

One day at a time, Friend.

Anonymous said...

I heard a song for the first time last week and thought of you. (You're Not Alone - Meredith Andrews) Music has helped heal many hurts for me, although I can't say I know how you feel. I am so sorry for your pain and loneliness. Praying each day that God meets all your needs. Your strength and honesty are awesome.

Becky said...

Tyson - both you and T.J. are so amazing. You're doing everything you can, even when it must seem so daunting at times. You're such a terrific Daddy to your sweet boy. I'll be praying for you and your little man.

Nichole said...

Your description to TJ of Jesus taking Leslie to heaven was absolutely beautiful. My hearts aches for you and I will continue to lift you up in my prayers.

Jessie said...

Always thinking of you! Thought a whole lot of you and Leslie the last few days. Keep on keepin on!

Sharon Harrison said...

I discovered your blog a few months ago and have prayed fervently for you and your precious family. My heart aches for you. I can't imagine what you are going through but just know that someone in Memphis,Tn will continue to pray for you and TJ.

Jilli said...

Hi Tyson,

I read this this morning and thought of you and TJ...

In Romans 8:23: God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us - bodies that will never be sick again and will never die. 24: We are saved by trusting. And trusting means looking forward to getting something we don't have yet - for a man who already has something doesn't need to hope and trust that he will get it. 25: But if we must keep trusting God for stomething that hasn't happened yet, it teaches us to wait paitently and confidently. 28: And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plans. 35: When we have trouble or calamity, when we are hunted down or destroyed, is it because he doesn't love us anymore? ... has God deserted us? 36: No, for the scriptures tell us that for his sake we must be ready to face death at every moment of the day - we are like sheep awaiting slaughter; but despite this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us. 38: For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us for his love. Death can't and life can't. The angels won't and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God's love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow... 39: nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demostrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.

You are not alone. You can do this. Let Him be strong for you. You are doing a MAGNIFICIENT job.

Henny said...

Thanks for sharing this blog and for revealing the truth about grief...You are not alone and your friends are listening. It is a weird feeling to have the world spinning on while you feel like you are in re-wind. Nothing feels normal. I'm praying for you and TJ that you will feel God holding you and giving you the strength you need to face each day. Take each day as it comes.

Cindy said...

That part about the sweatshirt and TJ's questions really moved me. Yeah, don't think it's a good idea to leave TJ for even a few minutes. I'm really proud of you. Still praying.

Anonymous said...


As a single parent, I can tell you that some days are easier than others. What I have discovered and have to continually be reminded is to trust God for all my/our needs. He knows my heart, hears my anger, frustrations, etc and continues to pour out His love. Many times His love is felt through others and the ways they provide the help I need to continue to put one foot in front of the other. About 8 1/2 years ago, God led me to Isaiah 43. I've been clinging to those verses ever since -- most especially in the darkest of nights (and even days). I have no doubts that you already know God will provide, that He loves you and TJ -- your faith shines through even in these difficult days and nights.

Continuing to lift you, TJ and your loved ones up in prayer. May His love and peace surround you and continue to carry you.

Anonymous said...

I pray that you feel the warmth, and goodwill your blog has created.
You are an outstanding example for TJ! Always remember that!

I'm not sure if you have heard this song or not but it always helps me when I have lost a loved one or am looking for comfort through music. It is by Third Day it is called "Cry Out To Jesus". If you haven't I would suggest you google it and listen to it. It's a beautiful song.

I will continue to pray for you and TJ!

Auntie Gayle said...

Hi,Ty, I have to say that the first time I read what you wrote about God carrying Leslie to heaven in His arms, giving her kisses....I just sobbed. What a beautiful way to describe to TJ his big Daddy up in Heaven who loves and cares for us all. The scary thing about being a parent is that we are the ones who give our kids their first understanding of God and you are doing beautifully with this. Just want to encourage you as a "recovering perfectionist", you can't do it all. Major on the majors, brother, and let the rest go. (Drink another beer.) Hopefully, you will be able to talk with a real person who cares with regard to the insurance/hospital crap---ugh! Looking forward to seeing you and TJ on Saturday. Love & prayers, Auntie Gayle

Anne said...

I pray that God will continue to fill those empty places - those places of loss and longing - with more and more of Himself. The loss is real and you are doing so well to grieve. And - growing to know God more and more intimately and to be known by Him - will begin to fill those empty places with a new peace and joy. "I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope."
Keep hanging on Tyson.

Anonymous said...

You don't know me but we have been praying for all of you during this time. I went to high school with Dana and my brother did so with Leslie. You have married into a pretty special family so don't be afraid to ask for help. Being a mom that her husband travels, quite often, you learn to lean on those that offer. It's not a bad thing at all. If you need a nap and someone offers to take your little one let them. It's not a bad daddy thing to do. You are just one person and the only one that your son will "always" rely on. Take care of yourself and TJ first and everything else will fall into place.

Anonymous said...

Some 'healing' music for me. Praying they give you peace too.
Mercy Me - Word of God Speak
Casting Crowns - Who Am I
Praise You In the
Your blog is an inspiration to so many. God Bless You Both!!! Still praying and lifting you up!!!

Jenni said...

I always say it takes a day to recover for every vacation day, not to mention a bereavement vacation! See how far that baby monitor will stretch. Maybe you could at least sit outside...
Maybe someone would take on your insurance fights for you? Delegate, Delegate...
Thanks for this blog Tyson. Thanks for letting us walk through this with you. See you in September...