Knowing what I know about grief, I am fairly certain that one of the most challenging parts about all of this will be that the outside world will go on as normal. It isn't going to stop because of what my family is going through. There's still work to be done, problems to be solved. I will want to hit a pause button but I will not be able to, and will have to go on balancing it all, envious of everyone else who gets to live a "normal" life.
We are now two weeks post my dad's passing, and I can confidently say that I was right.
I returned to work just four days ago, after being on FMLA, then intermittent FMLA, then bereavement leave. I haven't worked a "normal" schedule (as normal as my schedule can get) since early December. It's been a difficult and exhausting transition. I feel behind at work, and trying to get caught up while also knowing a busy season is just around the corner. I'm also distracted at work, busy getting things done and scheduling meetings. It doesn't give me time to to think about my dad. In my mind, that's both good and bad. Good that I have stuff to do to keep me busy and active, but bad because I start to feel slightly guilty. Like I've just forgotten it all already. Sometimes at work I feel like I am acting, acting like everything is fine and I was just on vacation for a while, so that's why I am so behind. I hate that feeling.
Then I come home and I'm just so tired, and fall into the couch exhausted, going to sleep by 9 pm.
It doesn't help that I've been sick all week, making me even more tired.
This doesn't feel normal.
Normal, for me, is working, going to the gym, spending time with Tom and family, reading, watching Netflix, seeing friends, going to church. Getting the grocery shopping, laundry, and cleaning done on Saturdays.
Normal right now is working, sleeping, doing very minimal housework, checking in with my mom, repeat. It's bursting into tears at random times. It's not seeing my friends in months. I can't tell you the last time I did something socially. It may have been before my wedding, in September.
And I miss him so much! Even when I call my mom and know he's not there with her, it's hard. Miss his hugs, his encouragement, his gentleness.
I know I will keep fighting. I know I will be strong. He has instilled that in me. And I fight for him. But I also know it's going to be the toughest fight yet. My body aches and my heart is heavy. But it's one step in front of the other, while carrying this grief with me.
Thank you for walking on this journey with me.