Sunday, September 7, 2008

Not ready to be done yet...

The last memorial service was yesterday. This one was the hardest for me, perhaps because this is where our final "home" was. Or perhaps simply because it was "the last one". It was just as powerful and beautiful and uplifting as the others. The encouragement I took from it was amazing. I was again humbled by the love and support given our family by you all. Thank you.

I'm not ready for these service to "done" yet. I could keep the "tour" going for at least another month. Every service has made me feel closer to Leslie-- has allowed us all to both mourn her loss and celebrate her victory in such a healthy, and poignantly REAL way. The last 3 Saturdays have kept me going through the last 3 weeks. I just left each one on a cloud-- not in a surreal or overly-emotional way... My feet were still on the ground, as many an artist has put to music before me... But I just left all three services feeling fully at peace with Leslie's new life... fully empowered and encouraged to walk into the coming week and take on the new life I'm left with... fully in love with her and fully letting God receive her (as if I could stop Him). And I loathe going to bed later tonight with nothing but a full week and a "normal" weekend ("whatever normal is", as we've been saying) to follow.

Speaking of bed-time... I'm hoping I don't "jinx" this by mentioning it, but TJ has been going down a bit more easily these past 3 nights... I'm hoping (Leslie always accused me of being overly optimistic, and I know she was right, in most cases) that our "Boys Day" on Labor Day-- followed by a "normal" week of Daddy going to work and coming home just like he promised-- were just what the doctor ordered to give him a little bit of an anchor to help him steady himself at night. We'll see...

Football season starts this weekend. Once a week for the last 7 seasons, Leslie and I would religiously plant ourselves in front of a TV-- at home, in a bar, wherever-- donning our Colts gear, rooting on Peyton Manning and the gang. 2 weeks before Leslie's battle ended, a virtual stranger, having heard of our devotion to the Colts, gave me an actual game-ball from the Colts-Bears Superbowl. He was a Bears fan with some sort of "insider's connection", and just couldn't bring himself to look at it anymore-- or so he said, in an effort to get me to accept the gift. (For those non-football fans in the audience... the Bears are the local team here in Chicagoland, and the Indianapolis Colts beat them for the world championship on that historical-- and truly wonderful-- day.) :) I brought it to Leslie in the hospital the next day and told her the story. It made her smile and she held it for awhile. I can't believe she's not here to watch the season opener with me tonight. Some friends took it upon themselves to "help me through it"-- they're coming over to eat some steaks, wings, and scream at the TV... in a wonderful twist of poetic irony, the Colts' opponent tonight: The Chicago Bears. Needless to say, I'll be the only one rooting on "Peyton Manning and the gang". Oh well, if the Bears win, at least my companions will go easy on me. You know... sympathy or something.

I'm just not ready to see the season change... baseball to football... summer to fall... She needs to be here with me. I forget how to do this... Moving the shorts and tank-tops to the back of the closet... moving the sweaters closer to the front... Who do I share the brilliant beauty of the changing leaves with, now? TJ's old enough to Trick-or-Treat this year... How do I do THAT?! Mommies have that kind of thing wired in their brains, or something... or at least, they know what articles to read, what friend to call, etc... in order to figure out all the how-to's. And don't even get me thinking about an even more dreadful thought: Christmas decorations...

I'm not ready to be done with the previous chapter. Not ready to turn the page. Not ready for the Memorial Services to be over. Not ready to "move on" and figure out our new "normal".

Then again... when are we ever "ready"? People have asked us in the past, "how did you know you were ready to get married?" We would answer, "We WEREN'T ready. But we were ready to try to figure it out together." Marriage, kids, etc... These are things we're truly never "ready" for... I know Leslie and I weren't really ready to be parents until right around TJ's 2nd birthday. We definitely weren't ready to be married until our 5th anniversary. And I'm guessing it will be the same with getting on with the "next chapter". I'm not ready. But what choice do I have? Might as well try to enjoy it the best I can... make the most of it... learn what I can along the way, and lean on the grace of God to get me through to the next page.


wynkoopmom said...

Hi Tyson,
I don't know you but am a fellow Taylor grad so the connection feels understandable. I lost my father at age 6 so I can understand at some level the loss of your son. Thank you for this post. It actually gives me a perspective of what my own mother went through facing parenthood without her partner. (Not that it makes it any easier for you.)
God's blessing and peace on you and your son...

Wow! said...

Thank you for waking so many hearts around the world.
Thank you for sharing "real men can cry".
Thank you for "date nights".
Thank you for sharing the love of our amazing God.

Peace, prayers and blessing to you Tyson. Sleep well my friend. Love and hugs to TJ and you.

Kim said...

You do have friends you can ask - we can all help you with the how-to's of everything. (mostly us mommies just make it up as we go along) :)

And, we will be watching the game tonight with you in Kentucky - cheering on the Colts with you - you aren't alone!!

Wee said...

First of all, we continue to pray for you as you and TJ live out many "firsts" (and seconds, and thirds, and so on) without Leslie. You have wonderful sensitivity to your son and his needs as he deeply misses his Mommy. Once again, thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. It is such an honor to lift you both up in prayer.
Secondly, Go Colts!

Jilli said...

We're screaming for the Colts with you Tyson! Have fun tonight.

Chelle said...

Well spoken, as always. Praying for you both as you find your own way to do things, the way that suits you both.

And, I'm sure there are plenty of moms who will help you out, and really, Kim is right, we moms make it up as we just gotta act confident like you know what you are doing.

You are doing an extraordinary job, and you need to know that.

Megan said...

I don't know if you remember me from Miracle Camp days...but I wanted to let you know that Andrea connected me to your story earlier this summer. Whenever I have a chance to read your blog, I cry out to the Lord fervently on your behalf. My family is going through our own cancer battle (my mom) and the honesty and soulfulness of your writing resonates with me deeply. God is so evident in Leslie and your story, and I pray that He is meeting you at this very moment- anointing you with his presence, bringing peace to Your spirit and equipping you to carry on as one phenomenal Dad.
May you have true rest in Him tonight.
Megan (Davis) Uecker

Steph said...

I'm not sure if you are used to random people commenting on your blog. I lost my husband to cancer in Dec. of 2006. I too have a blog, and some anonymous person suggested that I read your blog, so here I am.

I've found that it helps to have someone to relate to sometimes. No one understands quite like someone who has actually been in your shoes. After Keith died, my goal was to take my blog readers along as I grieved. I have really tried to be open and honest throughout my journey.

I pray that God will grant you and your little boy peace.


The Vachas said...

We don't know you but we pray for you. Tonight as I tucked my little guy into bed we prayed that God would hold you and TJ in his arms and comfort you. My heart breaks for both of you. I find strength in your faith. God Bless you always. You are a Great Daddy to TJ. Your responses to his questions about his Mommy are better than this Mommy could come up with. You have what it takes Tyson to figure out all the "how to's" and when you get stumped,like we all do,it sounds like you have the support of a bunch of wonderful friends and family. God is going to take care of you and TJ,He loves you.

Anne said...

Transitions are always hard - and I'm sure having the last memorial service feels like a huge transition... a deeper letting go. I pray that God will continue to direct your heart back to His "manna for today". When we are experiencing loss and pain it can help so much if we can focus on our relationship with God this day - this hour - this minute. He is with you Ty - may you know His presence more and more fully.
Blessings and prayers,

ann said...

My father died when I was 26. It was midday. I was appalled when the sun went down, people went home, I went to bed. And then the day came when I had to go to work. It was amazing to me that the world went on, without him. But it does. Thanks for articulating the outragousness of it. Praying from far away. A BIG fan of the Mannings, with some lovely stories to tell about my encounters with them. Poor boy tonight though!

Carrie S said...

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 4:19

Here and praying and hoping you have a good week.

Ben, Michele, Claire & Anna said...

I have been following your blog since about November of last year. I am friends with Ben & Jenny Calfee and they put a link to your blog on their blog. I've never left a comment because I just never felt like my words would ever be able to express how I feel or that they just wouldn't be adequate.
I want you to know that there are more people out here praying for you and TJ than you even realize. You are an amazing man and father. Your blog has been such an encouragement to me. Please know that Leslie's legacy will live on forever!
Thanks for your transparency... it is helping so many people across the world.
May our loving Lord continue to hold you tight in His embrace during this terrible time of loss.

Parker's Mama said...

Hang in there....
and give yourself more credit!
God's peace,

Ryan and Kristin Zeeb said...

So, after that nice entry, all I could do was laugh out loud thinking about you decorating for Christmas! Why!? I don't know! Probably b/c I think about Ryan and wonder what the heck he'd do! He wouldn't even have a clue where to find the Christmas Decorations!!=) I'm sure you could hire your mom to sew a Halloween costume!=) She just might be pretty good at that kind of thing!!

But, even though I was laughing (pretty hard...I must admit! Maybe b/c I'm slacking from getting work done)...I know, without a doubt--if anyone can pull it off, my seem to be the guy that could do it!!!!