As my cat-sitter, personal baker and incredibly understanding boyfriend noted, I went back to visit Mom and my family again this past weekend. I calligraphed my dad’s name on acknowledgement cards and addresses on envelopes for about 50 thank-yous which Mom was going to complete this week. We also took care of several “firsts”–Mom’s first trip outside the house for groceries without Dad, first meal out, first return to church, first visit to Dad’s sister, etc. Life slowly returns to a semblance of what now passes for normality.
I’ve been sick since last Wednesday, with what appears to be a bad cold–congestion, headache, cough. Thursday and Friday I sounded like the adolescent Peter Brady as his voice changed, and at times I’d open my mouth to speak and nothing at all would come out. I’m feeling better each day; the cough lingers on, especially bad at night, but my voice is returning to normal.
Work has been much more stressful than usual lately, for all of my group, with some amazingly bad timing given the personal demons that several of us are fighting–besides my father’s death, one co-worker’s partner broke up with her and is kicking her out of the house, another experienced a personal tragedy not unlike mine, and another was notifed of the death of a close family friend. Additionally, due to circumstances not completely in our control and just bad timing and worse luck, some people in high places haven’t been altogether happy with our department recently.
But my co-worker Waldo supports me with his perennial positive outlook, despite his own stresses and troubles, and my friends and family console me with their outpouring of love. And most of all, Jeff is just there with his calm assuredness about us and his unwavering support during a time that could be trying for any relationship, much less only a burgeoning one. I do feel sad and regretful that circumstances haven’t permitted us as much fun as we had been having, and that our time together has been significantly proscribed as I’ve spent all but the hurricane weekend away for the past month, and will likely be spending many more away. But I need to take to heart his words to me today, as he reminded me that I can continue to lean on him, that “a friend doubles your joy and halves your sorrow.” And what the sometimes cynical, at times self-pitying me might have considered just a platitude in the abstract, really does feel truer here in the reality of my sorrow, anger and even still the occasional joy.
And–at the risk of another “aww, shucks” from himself–some of those specific joys included returning home last night to Jeff busying himself in my kitchen and feeding Alex, and to a loaf of delicious pumpkin bread (even if Jeff does say so himself), and the warm fuzzy from Jeff earlier having said on the phone that he’d meet me “at home”–not at “your home” or “the condo” but just “at home.” And it does feel like home when he’s here.