Friday, April 18, 2014

It's Calculus All Over Again

Dear John,
 
It's almost 10:00 - I'm finally home, the animals are fed, and I just had a baked potato for dinner. Or whatever a meal at this hour is called. I was at church for the Liturgy at 9:00 this morning, then went to work, then back to church for vespers at 4:00 and the Lamentations service at 6:00. I'm so beyond tired at the moment. But I'll be back at 9:00 in the morning, stay for choir practice, then back at 10:30 tomorrow night, home maybe by 3:00 in the morning, back at noon on Sunday - you know the drill. And you know how wonderful it is.
 
Today was like calculus. Okay, maybe not exactly. Calculus is about differentials and today was about differentiation. Either way, it's hard and I'm not completely certain what I'm doing.
 
Today was the liturgical anniversary of your death - Holy Friday - and the first one I've attended in three years. In 2011 I was in Ann Arbor staying at the med center; in 2012 I was at the hospital with you; in 2013 I couldn't handle it emotionally. Now I'm back and it's wonderful. But I've had a hard time today separating out the grief of Holy Friday from my grief for you. When the bier was brought out today and the espitaphion was placed on it, I realized that the last body and shroud I'd seen in that spot were yours. The Lamentations could have come from my heart for either. I tried for a while to differentiate my griefs, then I gave it up as hopeless. It's all knotted up together. I can't separate the suffering of Christ from our suffering, the grief of his Mother from mine, the glory of his resurrection from your glory now in Heaven. Everything is connected emotionally and theologically. It gets too confusing.
 
Our epitaphion at St. Mary's tonight
Please pray for me tomorrow night. I'm going to be the only alto, which wouldn't matter except that I haven't been able to sing Shine, Shine yet. We've worked on it during choir practice, and I can't unknot my throat enough to make a sound. It was your favorite, and the last song you heard on earth. I remember bringing it in on my phone for you to hear the day before you died. I played it over and over for you, and you had tears streaming down your face. Since your third day was Pascha, I've always hoped you arrived in Heaven just in time for that part of the Paschal liturgy, and that it was the first song you heard in Heaven.
 
Now it's my tears that stream down when I hear that song. I'll have to do my best to sing it tomorrow night. And it's the Megalynarion for the whole Paschal season, which is wonderful and everybody loves it, but it means I'll struggle with it for six more weeks. I could really use your prayers, that it brings me joy and not tears.
 
I need to stop and get some sleep - I have to get up in eight hours. Sleep good tonight, know we love and miss you. And I'll stop straining my brain over differentiation. And differentials. I loved calculus, but I'm just too tired for it right now.
 
Love you with all my heart,
Joan.

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