I’m having a hard day.
I was in California for a week, where the sunlight did a lot to calm and relax me, but also to distract me — while reality crashed in the minute I came into the house last night (dark, stuffy) via the front door which we never use.
It’s hard. It’s hard to face an empty house. It’s hard to think about the things that are changing; the ones that already have and the ones I know will. And so it’s a hard day.
It’s normal. I’m in mourning. Grief ebbs and flows and you never are really sure when the tides are coming in or going out. I know this intimately. And yet, I’m sitting in the sunroom, finishing up some outstanding chores, and the effort of getting up, doing the next thing, making some lunch, it’s so huge that I feel physically weighed down.
These are the hardest days, because many people expect you to be doing better. Time heals, so of course as time passes (they reason) you will do exponentially better. Only, that’s not how it works. In the days after a death, everything is so unreal, and then your new reality sets in. And you have to cope with that.
I am coping. Don’t get me wrong. After I write this, I’ll make some lunch, walk down to the mailbox, switch the laundry out, put a record on, clean. I’ll keep checking things off on my master to do list, because every check box lightens the burden of stress and guilt and overwhelmedness. I LIVE by to do lists, a habit gifted by my mother and her pile of ever present steno notebooks (90% to do lists, 10% diary).
But I’d be lying if I said I was totally fine. And I think that’s ok. I don’t want to pretend this doesn’t SUCK. (“You’re an orphan,” said an uncle at the wake. “I mean, obviously it feels silly to say that when you’re in your 30s, but it doesn’t matter how old you are, you feel that loss down to your toes, and you are an orphan.”) I want to be honest, because then I can feel the grief receding, the tide going out, strength returning. I’ll get there.