I can’t believe it’s been a month since Heidi’s passing. In some ways it feels like it’s been much longer, and yet at the same time, it feels like it was just yesterday. I would say most of my interactions with people over the past month start with the question, “How are you and the girls doing?” An easy question and yet not easy to answer in a passing conversation. Usually I answer “OK” or “We’re managing” and then measure how much more the person wants to know by how they respond. I thought I would expand on that answer here in this blog post.
The girls are doing pretty good, all things considered. We have had our share of anxious moments, emotional breakdowns and sleepless nights, but those have lessened as the days go by. One of the mixed blessings of the last few months of Heidi’s life was as her body was slowly shutting down, the girls were able to slowly pull away from her. From Thanksgiving on Heidi spent most of the day sleeping, and as the sleeping increased the girls went into her room less and less.
The challenge with the girls right now is finding a new routine. The past few months there has been no routine: we had the holidays, Heidi being sick, family and friends visiting and now my return to work. Now that I am back to work full time the girls have been extra clingy to me, but I am sure that will lessen once we have a more set regular schedule.
As for how I am doing I feel like I am okay. There are times when life feels a bit overwhelming—be it managing the girls’ schedule and the corresponding childcare, or the return to work—my plate definitely feels full. In many ways I have been grieving (and have been a single parent) for the last seven months as Heidi’s health was failing. And yet everything about this grief still feels brand-new and foreign to me. There are still plenty of random moments when the loss of Heidi really hits me hard and I am a heap of tears.
I think the most challenging part is the lonely moments. Whether it’s longing for more adult conversations than talking about Shopkins and Paw Patrol with the girls, or just wanting someone to commiserate with after a long grinding or emotional day. I do have my adult times scattered throughout the week and plenty of help with the girls, but I am still the sole adult in our household.
A New Project
In some of those lonely moments I have been able to channel/process some of my thoughts and emotions through art, my own and others’ work. Throughout the last year I have been writing down ideas that came from our family’s journey with cancer and also inspirations that came from reading the psalms. This idea is still very new to me, and I am not sure what direction it will go, but I plan to sit with this for awhile and see what develops.
Aside from the psalms, there have been two songs that have resonated in tone with how I envision this work taking form. The first song is one I rediscovered around Christmastime, Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony Number 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs). It’s a powerful piece. I recommend listening to it with speakers or headphones; the dynamic range of the piece is pretty large (parts of it are really quiet and others really loud). Being a symphony it’s also a pretty long piece, the first movement alone is almost 30 minutes long.
The second piece is from Andrew Peterson called “Rejoice” which came out about a year ago. His whole album was been a touchstone of where I have been over the last year. The song itself may not be where I currently am personally, but where I want to be.
As I said before, this is just starting to gain momentum in my mind. It may be quite a bit of time before anything tangible comes out of this idea of mine.
I cannot thank you all enough for taking interest in Heidi and my journey through this challenging season of life. I thank you all for the continued prayers and innumerable gifts you have showered on our family.