I can't get my blog to work today, so I'm intruding on Karl's. This is a post meant for my blog titled "How are you?"
It's been 3 weeks now, and this is still maybe one of the hardest questions to really answer. How am I?
I'm a lot of different ways, I guess.
I'm busy. There's a lot to do - not just the settling of Karl's affairs, but just everyday life. As I write this I'm reminded that I haven't paid bills as I meant to today - I need to get on that. There's this big house, and it's floors and it's laundry and it's dishes. It's AC unit that needs the filter changed. It's fish tanks that need food. There's the list of home repairs I am adding to every day. There's enough here to keep me busy without the other things in my life. But there are, of course, other things. I do have a job. I teach classes - I taught one yesterday at the glass studio. I teach every week at UMSL. It's only 6 hours, but there's prep, mental and physical, for every class. Then there's my social life - I've had a social secretary for the last 3 years, and without him I'm lost managing my day. I want to see my friends, my family, but when?? Most important, I'm kept busy by a little ball of energy who seems to be teetering on the edge of walking. Every day, we need to eat, to dress, to play. We need to cuddle, to change, and to bathe. I'm trying so hard to preserve "normal" for him. I keep telling people he's the best medicine, that he makes me feel better than anything else. In my darker moments, I worry that perhaps it isn't medicine at all, but an excuse to indulge myself in a little denial. I don't want him to hurt, so I refuse to hurt when I hold him, lest some bit of that pain pass through my skin and onto his, sinking into his beautiful, joyful world... Yes. So I'm busy.
I'm lonely. I'm not alone at all. I'm surrounded by - afloat in - a deep, rich sea of love. Karl and I often talked with wonder about our luck. We loved eachother, but also our respective friends and families - who gets this lucky? I like, and love, my inlaws, and I adore my friends inherited from Karl - his, then our, now my friends. And my own long time friends couldn't be more supportive.... But, when I hurt, when I want to cry, I look for only one person, the other half of my heart, the only one who could hold me and make this all right. Even with all the love around me, nothing can replace him. Jen had it right - the only person who could comfort us when something hurt this much was Karl, and we couldn't call him. So we all do our best to comfort each other, but I think we are all a little lonely.
I'm joyful, hopeful, numb. Every day Elliot reminds me how beautiful the world is. His innocent joy is infectious, and I can't help but be swept up in it. I'm hopeful about the future - his future and mine. I have resources, not the least of which are my own intelligence, resilience, and strength. Karl and I had plans, and I remind myself that those don't have to go away, just to be modified. We just need to adjust that picture of tomorrow a bit, change the focus, alter the framing.... thing is every time I think about him - or rather the lack of him - I get numb. I feel it in my shoulders where I usually carry stress. It's a strange, loose, empty feeling. A nothing where there should be a something. Not sad, not happy, not weak, not strong. Just nothing. Just empty.
So when you ask, I'll probably say "I'm doing ok. I'm hanging in there. I'm taking it a day at a time." And it's true. I am.