Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Just when you thought it was safe

Looking back, I suppose it was coming for a while.

January had been pretty tough, but I'd made my way though it. After the funeral I threw myself headlong into other things. The business of being busy. Work and sleep, the regular rhythm. Writing daft things down for a handful of strangers to read. Social stuff. Displacement and distraction.

Sure, I'd get reminders here and there. Odd things. There was a trailer for the latest series of ER running on TV through February - a doctor type character with a pained expression was explaining to someone that he'd lost his father a year ago and still hadn't got over it properly. It made me wonder, every time I saw it. Was I supposed to be like that?

It was still coming, though, sure as anything. This last couple of weeks had been unbelievably hectic at work. I'd been going in, working on two big projects simultaneously, with identical - and unmovable - deadlines. And I thought I was being the life and soul of the office, cracking jokes, firing out one-liners, being the busy bee in a hive of activity.

Last weekend I went to dinner at my brother's house with my mother. We all talked about various things. The future, mainly. But there were holes in the narrative like a Swiss cheese. Dad featured highly in the conversation, even when we weren't mentioning him. It occurred to me that it would have been his 72nd birthday on Thursday, and my parents' 50th wedding anniversary later this month.

Still, I seemed OK. Good days and less-than-good days. But something was coming. It was inevitable, sure as night follows day.

Yesterday was a whirlwind. One significant, and highly detailed, report delivered. The other project passed its key milestone. I was running around like a mad thing to get things done. In the midst of it I received some more bad family news. Yet still I kept on running.

Last night was a late one. I was driving home at about 9pm. The big projects were done and the pressure was off. I was on my own. There's a stretch of the A45 between Coventry and Birmingham that's unlit and at that time of night it was deserted. I was in my own little bubble. Then Paul McCartney's 'Maybe I'm Amazed' came on the radio.

The tears came. At first hesitant, then hot, salty, bitter. I can't explain this at all, but looking back I suppose all the signposts were there. It was no more than a minute, maybe even only 30 seconds. But when I reached the streetlights of Birmingham they had gone as quickly as they had arrived.

I slept like a baby last night and woke up refreshed this morning. It occurs to me that I haven't done that on a weeknight for some time. I'm certainly not sure that I'm over it. I don't think you're supposed to be - yet I have no frame of reference. Perhaps writing this down serves as therapy. Perhaps I'll re-read this in the morning and be embarrassed that I'm over-sharing.

Maybe I should stick to randomness.


Le laquet said...

Nope that's why we blog - therapy is just too bloody expensive!

Tom said...

Besides, only being random is to deny who we are and it doesn't allow others to sympathize with us.

I have this to situation to face yet and it helps to know that others face it with grace and humanity.

Thanks for this post.

City Girl said...

It took me 15 years to get to the breaking point after my dad died. When I got there I cried, nonstop and sounding like a wounded animal, for weeks. Missed work. Lost weight. Lost a husband - good riddance.

It's good that you're dealing with it now, while it's manageable. So let the tears come in the car, in the shower, in the garden. You can't outrun them.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one over-sharing. It quite becomes you.


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