Today has been a taxing day. In all honesty, this has been a taxing week.
My friend Karen's death on Wednesday and the funeral yesterday cast a shadow over the latter half of the week. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the photos of her birth family as well as her family through marriage. I hugged her three beautiful, strong children for as long as they would let me hold on to them. I jumped at the chance to share with those gathered some of the ways in which Karen extended joy, grace, and hospitality to my family and to me during the last four and a half years. And I cried almost uncontrollably through the entire service. I will miss her very much.
Much of last week was characterized by a profound feeling of restlessness, loneliness, and doubt. A week of reaching out to friends and family for support. Of feeling the heavy and demanding responsibilities of parenting and homeschooling and being a wife and daughter and teacher and friend to so many. My friend Katie warned me that grief would show up in uncanny ways and at unexpected moments. She was right. Tears, anger, impatience, inadequacy, jealousy - all manifested themselves in me within the same hour some days.
Two blogs that I read regularly have helped me a lot today.
One is www.papayamaya.blogspot.com. The emotional topsy-turvy of life. The urge to leave, to run, as well as the pull to stay right where I am. Wanting to see down the road, but also not wanting to see. Looking for permission to live out my dreams and asking whose permission I need???!!! Anger, love, sadness, joy, peace, and beauty can be found in her fantastically written poetry.
The other is www.kristinnoelle.com. She wrote last week about quietness of heart and spirit. At the moment, I envy her quiet mind because my mind is full to overflowing with so many topics, questions, dreams, hopes, and yearning that I can barely sleep. I know that the end of this mental wrestling match will come eventually; at the very least, I hope and pray that there will soon be a break between rounds. Her words reminded me of the peace that is possible; I hope to find some very soon in the midst of this current storm.
In the meantime, I read, journal, mourn the loss of my dear friend, and make soup, salad, and chicken dishes for my family. I continue to prepare to lead the women's retreat two weekends from now on the topic of getting away alone and getting some rest. I talk with, listen to, cry with, write to, phone, and hug my friends. I sat on Katie's screened-in back porch for hours on Friday afternoon, sipping coffee, eating cannolis, and telling each other stories of our life's journeys. I cuddle with my children in their beds at night. I scratch Maya's tummy. And when the lights go out, I lay my weary head on my husband's shoulder and soak his shirt with my tears. I've been doing an awful lot of crying lately... Par for the course for me, I admit.
Today is April 15th.
Tax day, indeed.