We continue to rejoice that as of January 11th at 8:37pm, Elizabeth went to be with her Lord and Savior and Friend and Lover of her soul, Jesus Christ! Since that time, her heart and soul have been stretched in their capacity to experience joy, happiness, intimacy, laughter, connection, meaning, purpose and exhilaration. The greatest, most intimate and exciting moments of her short 46 1/2 years on earth are but shadows compared to the reality she has been absorbing since. So we rejoice for my bride; and we grieve deeply with much sadness and sorrow and pain, albeit with hope, her loss.
How am I doing? Its not easy for me to say as my heart is hard for me to discern at times and because it oftentimes depends on the moment. In some ways I am probably doing better than I would have anticipated in terms of having capacity to care for and engage my kids and keep the house up, maintain core friendships and family relationships and just function in general. I am sleeping well and getting out of bed in the morning, exercising and my blood pressure has decreased more into a healthy range. But I am deeply sad and full of sorrow and devastated that my bride, my best friend, my 16 year conversation partner, my children's Mom and beloved friend to so many is gone. Her absence fills our home especially after the kids go up for bed each night. There is no one daily asking me how my day went or how a certain meeting went or how I am doing. I miss her laughter, her smile, her wit, her fun, her playful engagement she would bring to the kids. I miss our nightly couch time with her legs on my knees. I miss praying with her and planning our next few months of being on mission together as a couple; as a family. I miss her. And I am for the most part choosing to sit in this sadness and sorrow versus run away from it or try to stuff it or to fill my life with distractions or sedatives. My counselor along with an AIA HR development leader I have both been regularly meeting with along with some close friends and co-workers and family (hint, hint: I am not in isolation, praise the Lord) tell me that sitting in it is good and necessary and that I have hard work to do in this grieving process. I know in my soul that I am being carried by God's grace and by your prayers and love and support. I cannot thank you enough for your fighting for me and for my family by interceding before His throne of grace on our behalf. God and I are talking daily but we are in the midst of some conflict management. While my head knows the theological answers or at least the outline of the response to the Why questions, I find that my heart needs to press Jesus with them. "Why did you choose not to answer our many prayers for healing? Why did you take her from 12, 11 and 11 year old kids? Why did you allow that cancer to mutate and become resistant to treatment and to then wreak havoc on her body and our family?" I am confident that He is doing a deeper work in my life and in the lives of many of us who are broken by losing Elizabeth. I trust that my footers of faith are going deeper into the bedrock of His character and that we are in the midst of discovering His grace in ways inaccessible to us before that will forge us into people with greater capacities of compassion, wisdom, empathy, joy and courage. But for now, we ache.
How are the kids doing? I don't really know. They have seemed to function and behave normally these past 5 weeks which has caused me concern as I wait for the shoe to drop. None of them have shared with me their thoughts and feelings about their loss and pain and sadness they are experiencing unless I ask. And I am trying not to ask them too often. We had a sweet time together a few weeks ago where everyone was given an opportunity to share how they were doing. Then we read one of Elizabeth's blogs from three years ago. We 'happened' to pick this one where she spent the last few paragraphs sharing about her journey of grief in losing her parents four years earlier. It was as if Elizabeth was guiding us in our grieving process of her through this post: http://elizabethkoproski.blogspot.com/2015/12/paul-blart-white-house-and-my-naked-soul.html The kids were then given an opportunity to open a note from Mom that she wrote days before she passed. Turner was the only one who shared how he was doing. Quinn and I both cried and Olivia was the only one who chose to open her card. My grief counselor told me not to worry too much about the kids. She said most of the time, if the surviving spouse does well, the kids do well. So I am trying not to worry about them too much. Thank you again for praying for us and for your many notes and gifts and expressions of care and love and support that has been lavished upon us. We truly are grateful.