Today was hard, emotionally. I’m working with a new employee who’s spouse suddenly died less than two weeks ago. She had only been here for 3 days before he passed and then stopped returning to work saying only that she was (quite understandably) having trouble coping with the loss.
I thought she would not be able to return at all but she called and asked if it was possible to continue her training and since my last class has already been released I had the time and agreed. When she walked in this morning I hardly recognized her as the same person I met two weeks ago. She has lost weight and her eyes—my god her eyes—they looked as though she were lost or still in shock. She’s seems present, but appears to have lost the ability to connect meaningfully with her surroundings.
I feel so bad for her, and at the same time, I’m terrified of her. I’m terrified that her reality could some day be mine and those eyes would be my eyes. All day I longed to be near my wife and I promised myself to spend a little more time holding her, looking at her, kissing her, and making sure she knows I love her in case one day it’s her struggling to cope with the loss of me.
I haven’t seen my favorite coworkers in over 4 days and you can tell we’ve missed each other. We’ve been laughing all day like it’s the last day before summer break and there’s no more work to do or work worth doing. I haven’t laughed this much in a long time and I feel lucky and incredibly grateful to have a job where I get to have fun and smile every day. I’m lucky to have bosses and coworkers who are also my friends.
Tonight is democratic debate night and just 30 minutes in I am both thoroughly entertained and 100% sure of my primary candidate choice. Still, I do wish the whole process was a lot closer to being done than it is now. I’m burned out on politics and I’ve never been burned out on politics.
I’m also afraid. I don’t know how I could process a repeat of 2016. I know I would live but my last shred of connection to my country would be severed. I would no longer feel that I lived in a just society and to continue to live here and to pay taxes might begin to feel immoral. It would be too much for my soul to bear.
Being out in the world is regressing me. I felt much better, much more myself and much more energetic yesterday but being forced out of bed and out of the house before I felt rested or ready is exhausting me and bringing my symptoms back and of course I left all my hard medications at home thinking I was over the worst of it and past the possibility of relapse.
Today is a “non-pupal contact” day at work which means most of my coworkers are still at home fast asleep. I also had the option of staying home, but I figured since the day would be an easy and quiet one I might as well try to make up some of those hours I’ve been missing lately. What I failed to remember was that these quiet easy days tend to be the hardest to get through. Time is dragging, and the boredom is exhausting.
I’m trying to make the most of this time though. I’m catching up on clerical duties and making time for my personal to-do list items in between tasks. I filled out the editorial calendar I printed last week, posted a new cutout poem on Instagram, and made it through the Heartsaver Instructor Essentials Online course too. It’s a long day, but it’s also one of the most productive I’ve had in a long time.
Finally, after over a week of dealing with a sore throat, a cough, congestion, headaches, and sinus agony, finally I’m starting to feel like a normal human being again. I can breathe!
I’m feeling better but I’m not feeling well so I’m staying in and taking care of myself. I don’t want to have to miss even more work than I already have or have to going forward. This is a long weekend too so if I take advantage of the time and really rest, take my medication, hydrate, and eat right there’s a real chance I could kick this cold before the start of work Monday.
I’m continuing my break for to-do lists, obligations, and guilt. Stress has a major impact on my immune system and asking too much of myself or allowing anxiety over what I didn’t do to get a foothold will only prolong healing. All I have to do right now is rest.
I feel like absolute crap but I will not let this cold get in the way of celebrating with my wife. We’re trying out a new restaurant that she’s been wanting to go to, but that I had been avoidant and dismissive of every time she mentioned it. I’m not opposed to trying new things, quiet the opposite actually, but this is a Venezuelan restaurant and the menu is mostly in Spanish, and the idea of mispronouncing my order or of ordering food who’s description I cannot understand terrifies me.
I feel bad because I didn’t even realize I was doing it until she requested the place for Valentine’s date. I wondered what other things she’s interested in that I might be avoiding or dismissing. I want to be mindful of what I might be denying her in life without even realizing it and work hard to curb that tendency. My fears are no excuse for denying her new expieriences in life.
Dinner was amazing. We had calamari to start with a couple of very tropical cocktails. For dinner I ordered a steak topped with roasted onions and tomatoes with fried plantains, rice, and a fried egg on the side. It was delicious. Dessert wasn’t as impressive. My wife’s tiramisu was still frozen and my rice pudding was a little runny, but all in all I’m happy and even willing to come back.
As for us, we feel as in love as we did yesterday, last year, and ever since we were naïve teenagers unsure of where we were headed and what we were doing but knowing we wanted to figure out together. A holiday doesn’t change that, bring us closer, or remind us of what we have. We never forgot. When every day is a day of love Valentine’s day becomes nothing but an excuse for a shared meal and a couple of drinks.