Last summer, I spent a lot of time crying. I spent a lot of time walking and thinking… I painted. I read. Justin and I went on a road trip. Some days I slept a lot. Some nights, I slept very little. And when it ended, my biggest anxiety was that loss of flexibility of time– that ability to do what I needed to do, when I needed to do it, to do what I wanted to do.
Certainly, there was some anxiety about going back to work beyond just the usual first of the year jitters. I didn’t know if I was emotionally stable enough to deal with our kids… I didn’t know if I could give them what they needed. I really doubted that I had anything left to give… and I knew that I carried sadness and anger a lot closer to the surface than before.
But the school year started and for the most part, I locked into the routines of work and learned that I did have something to give… that I could love these kids and do this job… that I did enjoy my work and that it was still rewarding.
And so this summer ends and I am getting back to the routine. And this year there is less anxiety about how I will perform. There is less worry about breaking down or blowing up… and I am actually looking forward to going back.
I didn’t get to go on my solo road trip. I didn’t finish… or even start for the matter, the garage for the LA house. I haven’t finished the fence that I am building for the dog. (I am very pleased with how it is coming out.) So as much as I love my job and want to get back into it… I also want more of this off time thing.
But it isn’t for sitting on that couch… or reading… or painting… or whatever activity that in reality was more focused on healing… on grief… This was a busy summer. Destroying a garage. A wedding. Showing art. A dog. A fence. I was busy, but not merely as a distraction from the storm inside. I was actually happy much of the time… engaged and involved rather than temporarily distracted.
I suppose this means that it does get better. There are moments of intense sadness, where the sense of loss is tangible, and the memories heavy and real… but there are moments when I am just nailing a board, cutting wood, staining it, planting a post, and driving in a screw. When I can do something as ordinary as hanging a gate without being consumed with grief… I know it gets better.