Friday, November 6, 2009

First Week

Going back to work and school this week was a surreal experience. I felt like things should be different; feel different; but they didn't. After all, I no longer have a father. Or any grandparents. I have endured this major life-changing event that makes people make the pity face whenever I walk into a room. I have never gotten so many cards in the mail in my entire life; well over twenty just this week. I feel like I am absorbing all of the available pity within a 10-mile radius.

But I don't feel different. I smile. I laugh. I go to the gym. I sweat. My muscles hurt. I listen to the iPod and sing. I still feel refreshed when the sky is blue and the air is crispy. I bitch about work and my boss. I even play Beatles Rock Band.

And I feel guilty for all of these things.

Monday was the worst. It was the first time many of my co-workers had seen me since the ordeal started. When they asked me how I was doing (complete with pity face), I smiled and said that I was "hanging in there." I felt like a traitor. Shouldn't I have been in tears? Unable to function? I felt like I didn't deserve to have had off all week. Shouldn't I have had to prove that I was so wrenched with grief that I couldn't drive? Tuesday wasn't much better. I went to class for the first time in several weeks, and our professor had shared with everyone what was happening in my life. A couple of them got me cards. One of them brought me a box of chocolates. I felt like an impostor.

I know I shouldn't feel guilty for being able to hold my shit together and continue on with my life without collapsing. But I do.

3 comments:

Janet said...

Don't feel guilty. Everyone handles grief differently. People aren't being kind to you because they expect you to fall apart. Just accept the kindness, and know that you do deserve it.

Ms Behaviour said...

There are two things I want to convey, but I don't have the intelligence to frame those thoughts myself. The first is,

Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life. ~Albert Einstein

And the second,

The death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive - perhaps for some purpose which we ought to re-examine. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

You're supposed to carry-on, to be productive, to continue being you. That's the point of being the next generation. Maybe you could continue some small tradition of your momom's... baking or something domestic and comforting and productive?

erin said...

Your coworkers and classmates ABSOLUTELY understand that you did deserve that time off and you do deserve their cards and sympathy. In my experience, people rarely show their grief in public places like work and class. I can't imagine they would have expected you to be grief-stricken in either of those places. And if you were grief-stricken in those places, they would have been nothing but kind.

You're all good. People understand that just because you're not showing it doesn't mean you aren't feeling it privately. So don't worry - concentrate on yourself and whatever feels right for you right now.