Reset. Reboot. Ctrl-Alt-Delete. Probably zillions of other cool terms that are beyond me right now. The New Years’ Resolution crowd are out in force at the gym, and for a lot of reasons it feels disheartening. How many of those folks will still be around in month, much less this time next year? i get it. I have had so many hopeful (and unrealistic) starts with fitness and diet through the years I flinch just thinking about what they are putting themselves through right now.
There is still part of my brain that believes this is going to happen to me again. My better health resolve will erode and I will lose motivation and drop the habits I’ve spent the last 3+ years developing. Once that happens, I will lose a lot more than my resolve to stick with my better health quest. So losing my resole would be bad, very bad. in my head letting go of my health is a first step in abandoning all hope and falling into the depths of despair.
I have had to reset frequently in the last year. Reset to stay present and focused on and for those who need me. Reset to keep my head about work-related issues when things got hairy and challenging. Reset with stress and trying to find relief. Reset from being me and my particular personality type.
How many times can a person hit the reset button on life before the reset button breaks?
Does the button break? I don’t know. The demons that chase me want to convince me that there is no hope. Those demons tried/try to make me believe there is no hope. I remind myself that I overcame, I survived, and I am still standing.
I keep going. I keep trying. I falter, stumble, fall on my ass or flat on my face. But I crawl back to my feet. Or I accept the help and take the hands that are extended to me.
Despite that, the darkness surrounds me, always. I often feel like a beacon in a dark lake. The beacon is not for others to beckon them to light, but for me, to remember that darkness need not consume me.
Except the last couple of months have felt as if i am drowning in the depths of the dark lake, no beacon in sight.
I am still here, though. Struggling on various fronts, pondering life, thinking really hard about so many things, feeling pretty shitty under my game face much of the time.
This is life. My life, and like everyone else, life and living is messy business.
Grief is hard. I know that. There is all this old stuff, old wounds that will never heal completely. Grief tends to rip off the the carefully placed bandages that keep those wounds from opening and spilling blood all over again.
Into all this death and grief, I am at a crossroads with work. Do I continue as I am or pursue employee status? Do I give up my freedom and take something with more stability?
Or maybe, as I have been with other things, I table any major decisions until my head is clearer?
I suppose the timing and timeline of when will my head be clearer looms larger right now. I keep on keeping on, because the alternatives are even more unbearable.
Is this limbo? Not really. Not in the same ways other describe how they feel. But I understand the terminology and the feels.
My problems are not life-altering to anyone except me and my family, my tribe. The way I see it, we are interlocking pieces and weakening one weakens the whole. I cannot deliberately do that to anyone I love as I love my tribe.
This weekend I attended two funeral services for two different people. It reminds me how little control I have over anyone or anything outside myself and how important it is to stay focused on the life I have, the people I love and to continue moving forward with living my life.
An elderly neighbor had passed away and her services were Friday night. I did not know her well, but she was mid-90s and still lived on her own. She walked her dog daily, and most mornings I would see her on my drive home from the gym. From what the other neighbors told us and her family said she died in her sleep.
The family that came for the services – her son and great granddaughter. There was some regret there, as the son had been estranged for more than 50 years and the great granddaughter (her grandfather’s caretaker) had never even met her. The chapel was filled with other neighbors and “younger whippersnapper” lifelong friends in their late 60s and 70s. There were maybe 40 people present. There was so much affection and care in the room, sadness at the loss of a vibrant spirit and celebration of a life well lived.
I love the stores shared. I love that she planned her services down to the last detail – the music, the flowers, the program, the eulogists, even the food and drinks afterward. Friday night at a funeral? Honestly, it was the best evening, like being with a room full of potential new friends.
It makes me wish I had known her better, yet grateful to have gotten to know her as well as I did.
Yesterday, I went to a former client’s funeral. Him, I knew well and worked with for a number of years. It was one of the most challenging few hours in years.
There are two children involved, teenagers who are grieving far harder than any grown person should have to endure. My loss – of a man I cared for and about and considered a good friend – feels to me like a powerful body blow. To these two children, their world was obliterated and they have been thrust into a life akin to a father-less wasteland.
And as a mother of three, one deceased, and pseudo-mom (POM) to a few others, it breaks my heart all over again.
In the two hour drive there, the three plus hours at the funeral and reception, and then another two hour drive back, I had a lot of time to think and process all that has happened. From the details I have heard from those closest to my friend, he was struggling with the fall-out from a recent break-up. From my personal experience and conversations, it seemed nothing unusual was going on with him.
And that is part of what haunts me. I see my friend in a kaleidoscope of moods through the years. None of our many, many conversations prepared me for his dying. That he would make a terminal choice rather than fulfilling his responsibility to his kids. He was also a business owner, with employees who are wondering what happens next since their boss died with no clear succession plan in place.
I wish I had answers for them as well. Anyone with any sense of compassion would feel the same way.
The contrast was striking. Friday night, full of older people smiling through tears, laughing and sharing stories about an old friend. Saturday was serious, somber, filled with wracking sobs, thousand yard stares, and zombie shuffles.
Today I feel the heaviness in my soul. My range of emotions about the last couple of months, from losing my friend (natural causes) to another friend (suicide) to other estrangements in my own family.
But as I said at the start of this post, the reset button is still in my hand, still under my control. Of all the things in this world, that’s power I retain. My agency to try to break free of my funk or not remains.
So this Sunday, I retain my agency and free will. And my sadness and feelings of loss. But I have choices and options. That’s a lot.
I held on stoically during a funeral and reception. On the way home I broke down selecting avocados. Who knows what today might hold?