I cried myself to sleep again last night. Quietly. I didn't want to wake TJ, who's sharing a room with me, with all the family down here with us now. (That's something I'm hoping TJ doesn't get too used to by the time we go home this weekend.) (I'm hoping it's not someting I'm too used to, for that matter.)
What did it this time was a flood of beautiful "healthy" memories. Things we did when she was stronger, and were never the same after she got sick. Playing cards before bed. Just lying there talking. Good-night kisses. Walking around the block or on this beach that is just outside my window. Just being quiet with her. (It took her forever to teach me to just be quiet with her.) I'm never going to hold her hand again... play with the diamond ring on her finger... See her smile... Hold her in my arms and dance with her (we'd tear it up at weddings, but our best dancing happened in the kitchen when I'd come home from work, before dinner-- no music, just an even younger TJ watching us and smiling)...
I'm realizing that the last months truly took their toll on some of those memories. My "hard drive" capacity in my mind has too much memory dedicated to keeping all that "data" from those last months-- image files associated with sickness, suffering, hospitals, and what-not. I guess it makes it easier in the present, in some ways-- the "she's not suffering anymore," thoughts are always in the front of my mind. I'm constantly at peace with her eternal comfort. Glad for her... But everything I do every day is touched by her, if not consumed by her-- with these most recent images of her in the front of my mind. What should TJ have for lunch? How do I "steer" him into the right behavior, out of the improper behavior? Even, what do I eat? How do I talk to people? How do I pray? How do I live my life minute-by-minute?
As I mentioned before, we're living now pretty much like we did the past several months before her battle ended. So as usual, when I stop to think, "what would Leslie want me to do about _________?", I tend to think of her upstairs in our room, hooked to an oxygen tank, listening, thinking, just unable to yell downstairs. Having her there always helped me make the right decision around the house. (I guess you could say she had me sufficiently trained.) (She used to say that if I was an animal I'd be a Labrador Retriever-- loyal and trainable, with the illusion of being intelligent.) (She was only half-joking.) And when I was really stumped, I'd just run up the stairs and ask her a quick question. Only difference is now, she's a little further "upstairs", and I just kind of "pray" the question instead of running up stairs in those instances-- not that we can pray to loved ones past, necessarily... but I'm sure there's some sort of eternal "hook-up" or "switch-board", via the Holy Spirit, or the Archangels, or something.
So these are the images and memories of her (the not-so-good days... the last days) that fill my mind as I go about doing the day. It's what is familiar-- how I've already started to adjust to living without her being around. I don't often cry, anymore, when I think of her those last few days-- moments-- breaths. Her victory is WON! And I am truly still rejoicing. But now, with some adequate time to begin "processing" -- (I hate that word, but I guess it fits the "memory" and "hard-drive" analogy)-- the sweeter memories of the life we had are beginning to churn and bubble to the top. And God, it was such a good life. The dancing, the laughter, the kisses, the silence, the walks, and so-on. All I can keep praying is, "Thank you". And when it really gets ugly-- as it did last night-- just keep whispering between helpless whimpers, "I miss you, Baby..."