Photo: It is slack-jaw gorgeous here in MetroWest right now. Peak color, active falling of leaves, a gentle breeze to keep things in motion. The eye doesn’t know where to focus, because everything is too beautiful for words. Sunny day or gray like yesterday, it doesn’t matter. It’s undeniably beautiful.
I am a little amazed by what I’ve managed to accomplish. That’s not me trying to brag. Actually, that’s me feeling a little bit ashamed of myself. The drumbeat of home is steady, with the boys needing a lot at any given moment and the schedule always very full and very tight. There are things that have to happen. I feel like I’m hearing a voice that says constantly, “you just can’t stop. You don’t have time to stop.” And it’s true: there is always a new thing to take up, something dropped that must be picked up right now. I’ve received plenty of advice: “You don’t have to do everything. You can say ‘no’ to things.” Yet, that feels very untrue. I made commitments before everything went up in the air, and now they are all coming up due. I signed up to be Classroom Mom for Major’s class and the Halloween party is in two weeks. I was asked to help with church stewardship again this year, so I helped re-write the brochure and letter to the congregation. I have three freelance clients who politely let me disappear for a week, but now the deadlines are looming…
And yeah, I’m getting it all done. I don’t really have a choice. I don’t want to disappoint and, besides, I want to be busy. Maybe not this busy, but it’s a wonderful distraction. Hello Denial Stage of grieving. I know I’m just running away from it. Grief is still with me.
I think the most surprising thing I’ve encountered so far is the physical pain of grieving. Last week, it was a two-day headache that I couldn’t shake. Over the weekend, it was a full-body ache that wouldn’t let me be comfortable during the long ride back here. Today, it’s sciatic pain that rivals that of my pregnancies. The pain in my lower back is incredible, and it shoots up and down my left leg in a way it has never done before.
There is no running, no hiding. There is pain, and you have to deal with it.
But I’ve got things to do.
So, that is where the shame comes in: I’m sitting here with a full understanding of what’s going on, yet I am foolishly ignoring it instead of dealing with it. The shame comes from knowing that I’m not heeding the advice of everyone who has lovingly given it to me, each of them telling me to take it easy, let this first week come and go. Surely I should know better than to not listen to everybody. Then again, there is this sense of anger: what the hell else am I supposed to do? Maybe if I didn’t have two boys, I could curl up in a ball and let the world pass by me for a few days. But they are counting on me to get up every single day, to be at my best. To be better than my best.
We were just starting to find some sort of routine with this crazy new school year. I was taking on new things because I had a handle on the new schedule I knew what I was capable of producing in a day. I was starting to find the necessary life-hacks and strategies necessary to get ahead. It’s frustrating to be back at square one.
I am reminded that Square One is, essentially, tabula rosa. There are opportunities here to seize moments and climb out of this. It’s hard, but I’m trying to grasp for the moments of inspiration and strength, climbing out of this hole and into a better place. Maybe my goal for the week should have simply been survival rather than seeking a “new normal.” Maybe I was a fool for thinking I could control what a “new normal” can look like. I don’t know what else to do, Dear Reader. I don’t know what approach I should take other than the one I am.
And so, it’s a warm Wednesday night, I’m exhausted and in pain. Despite my efforts, my task list doesn’t feel any shorter, and a new day comes before I know it. I’ll greet it as best I can, optimistic that I’ll accomplish something and find my feet again soon.
See you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.