Today marks the end of my first week back to work after losing my dad. I spent most of last week alone in my house allowing myself to breakdown and roll with each new wave of seemingly unbearable grief. I had my "Big Chill" Glenn Close moments sitting in the shower sobbing, I yelled, I prayed, I laid in my bed and wept for hours. I avoided my friends for the most part and just spent time alone with my grief. When Tuesday rolled around I dreaded going to the office. I was not ready to face getting back to work because it meant that life continues whether I wanted it to or not. Day one back was tough. I wasn't sure that I could make it through the day. I have worked at my present company for nearly 20 years and we are a big family. Knowing that I was going to have to talk to a lot of people, all who were going to ask me how I was doing, was not something I wanted to do. It was tough. I had already gone by the office on Saturday to pick up the big pile of sympathy cards that I knew were going to be waiting for me. I am glad that I did that, rather than face those on that first day. I managed to make it through the day and each day this week was a little easier to bear.
Working while in what my friend Tracie calls "the grief fog" is tough though. It amazes me that I can't remember a single thing for more than a minute. I remember when my mom died I went through the same thing and that was when I really got in the habit of writing down everything. Email makes it easier because there is a trail to follow now, but it still just floors me how little I am retaining. Case in point, earlier today when I got to the office, my low fuel warning on the car chimed. I honestly couldn't recall ever looking at the gas gauge recently. When I left the office, I had an appt to get my nails done and on the way, the chime went off again. I reminded myself that when I left the nail salon to go get gas, I was even chanting it in my head while getting my manicure. I just now realized that I never did go fill up the car. I joked recently about putting the milk in the oven and the peanut butter in the refrigerator. I wasn't kidding. I have been finding things in the wierdest places. It is almost frightening, this memory loss from grief.
I hate how fragile I feel. Fragile is not a word I would ever use to describe myself. I realize it has not even been two weeks since I buried my father, but I just feel like I could break into a million little pieces at the drop of a hat. I have never felt like this before. A few years ago at my 15th anniversary dinner at work, which is one of those affairs where people say nice things about you and you get a clock or something, my friend Rhea said I was resilient. At the time I thought, wow, that really is true about me. I'm not saying that my life has been any tougher than anyone elses, we all have our trials, but I have dealt with a lot of stuff in my life. I keep holding on to that description of me by someone who knows me well, because it gives me hope that I won't always feel like some delicate piece of china.
I am also struggling with anger. I don't really think it is anger like the kind talked about as one of the stages of grief. That anger is usually directed at God or the loved one you lost or the medical community. This is more like I have just don't have any tolerance for things or people. Maybe this is because I have just experienced a tragedy in my life and so by comparison so many things just seem so trivial to me. I'm impatient with everything. I know that this will fade just as my memory will get better and I will become less fragile with the passing of time. Right now I just feel so inside out and raw. I am doing the best I can though, trying to find a little bit of joy in each day and moving forward.