It's hard to figure out what the balance is.
I've been back in seminary for three weeks, kept up with the reading, written two papers, missed some meetings, gone to chapel, avoided chapel, hung out talking to people in the library. Most people have no idea what to say to me, some feel compelled to offer the most appalling platitudes, and a very few seem to know how to be present to someone who feels as if she is wandering around on a planet in a distant galaxy. My first real venture outside my protective cocoon of family and friends, and it wasn't easy.
I spent some time one evening with the committee that oversees the ordination process for our Presbytery. Everyone was supportive and encouraging and did what they needed to do to mover things along. In my former life, I tended to exude tremendous zest and stamina, and I am self-aware enough to recognize how steeply that level of engagement has declined. I suppose they must still have seen a spark of the old Gannet, and I am grateful for that, and for their willingness to hang in there with me.
I am exhausted. My estimate is that the grieving process, day in and day out, takes about 500% of the energy required for a normal day in life as usual. Every few hours of effort requires many times over that number to recover. Every encounter with a baby, every strain of Christmas music, every symbol, whether liturgical or secular, is another invitation to the practice of endurance. Our mail carrier is out sick and the substitute has not deigned to come by all week (I finally called the post office tonight), which may be a good thing. Fifteen weeks, and condolence cards are still arriving (well, they were) but now now they are mixed in with those for Christmas and Chanukah. A lot to take in.
The Lovely Daughter is home from Oregon and the sound of her laughter from the living room is a very good thing. My father was supposed to come and visit for a couple of days but decided that the weather was too risky, so we have a clean guest room, if anyone wants to stop by. We have a little tree, mostly decorated. And we have reservations for Key West starting on Sunday, where we are going to continue our efforts to come to terms with lives far outside the orbit of the ones we had planned.
I guess we are all right.