There are so many different metaphors for grief. Right now, the one I feel most strongly is weight. My grief is heavy, and I am tired.
Every morning I wake up and consider if today is the day I won’t get out of bed. I’d really rather spend the day sleeping, or lost in my iPad. So far, I have always made myself get up. But it’s hard.
Taking care of the house has always been my job—cleaning inside and landscaping outside. These days, it’s just overwhelming. I look at the list—vacuum, mop, clean the bathrooms, weed the flowers—and try to do just one thing a day. Lately, I’m lucky if I can get one thing done a week. I end up lying on the couch, stressed from the mess and dirt, yet not so stressed that I actually get up and clean.
Work is worse. Earlier this year, my company and I started transitioning me to a less stressful and demanding role. I had one week—one glorious week—of less stress and a manageable work load. Then, it all blew apart. I’m back with more responsibility than ever, with high stakes. It’s not anyone’s fault, and I could have said no…except not really, because people’s livelihoods were on the line.
I’m trying to accept it and move on, because complaining about it doesn’t help and I need to focus and be positive. But it feels as if I were coming up for air, and then someone pushed me back down into the lightless depths, where the pounds-per-square-inch calculation layers my suit of razor blades with concrete.
Weighted by grief and responsibilities, things take time. Last week, I looked at my ever-growing to-do list, actually hyperventilated, then burst into tears. So now I pull out one or two things and write it on a sticky I place on my monitor—the “must do” that day. On a good day, I can get through two or even three stickies. I’ve learned to deal with emails as soon as I read them, because I can’t trust my memory to go back and respond. Speaking of memory, I write everything down, because my usual steep-trap recall is completely porous.
So I’m trying. Trying to be a good, supportive wife. Trying to be present for my kids. Trying to run a home. Trying to be a good employee.
But I am far, far underwater and really, really tired. My heart is so heavy.