Monday, January 16, 2012

Free time

I was walking down to my mother's apartment this morning to put her fentanyl patch on her, and I suddenly had an acute memory of last summer, during the week my father started going downhill so fast-- he was... evacuating his last meal, and we were waiting for the hospital bed to get set up, and I was sitting behind my father, propping him up so he wouldn't aspirate, getting his shirt off him and cleaning him up-- and I started to cry. So, I was in tears when my mother opened the door to me, and she hugged me, which was nice. Even though her moods are not completely predictable, she has offered me comfort during the time she has lived here-- and that is a great improvement, both in her condition and in our relationship.

I went home and my friend Chris had the day off, so he had come over and made some coffee and was surfing the net. I came in and poured a cup of coffee and cried some more, so Chris offered to take me for a drive to cheer me up. I have had some work done on the car recently, too, but it still doesn't feel completely right, so I wanted Chris to drive my car and try to diagnose it. We ended up going to the carwash, too. Then I ran Pat to to her doctor's appointment (naturally) and dropped her off (she did not need me to stay for this appointment). I came home and started working on my grant again-- a big grant that has been weighing on me. With an encroaching deadline.

And here's where the day started to get a little odd. I received an email from a contact at my client's site describing an insurmountable obstacle to submission. I called them immediately, everyone pretty much at the same time determining that there is no point in moving forward with the proposal. I unexpectedly now have more free time now. I was supposed to go to Hartford this weekend, and my mind keeps rubbing at the trip and preparations like a canker-- until again and again I conclude that that is no longer happening. I have been thinking about this for so long that my brain can't yet catch up with the change.

It would have been nice to get away for the weekend, even a working weekend. But it is even nicer to have this pressure off my plate.

Some friends and I have been talking about going shooting for the past three weeks, because the weather has been amazing. And every time, I have said, "No, I can't. I have to work on the grant." So, today, with temperatures in the low 70s, we got into the car with the windows down and drove out to the conservation area and shot 300 rounds of ammunition at these fun targets we have. And I didn't really think about much at all, just took in the landscape, with the sun glinting off wheat grass and turning it gold, the rare blue-ness of the Missouri winter sky, a few clouds, and hitting my targets.

It's hard for me to quiet the thinking that way. I don't hear voices-- but I am a wool gatherer and a ruminator, and it's rarely quiet in my own head. I said to Chris this morning, as I removed my glasses, speckled with the salt from my tears, blew on them and cleaned them on the bottom of my shirt (I know, I know), "I need a vacation. I just want to get out of my own head." The head that remembers sitting behind my father, the head that remembers the moment I realized that he was not going to take another breath, all of the images and moments from last year. I said, "I really didn't count on this shit coming bubbling up SIX MONTHS LATER."

Chris just gave me a look that said, "REALLY?" Like he has seen it coming for awhile, and that's probably the case.

It bubbles up, I cry it out a little, get on with my day. And so it goes.

Well, I didn't get a vacation, but I did get a peaceful, beautiful, sunny afternoon. I'll take it.

1 comment:

  1. I love you, honey. Sorry I'm not on FB anymore, but you can text or email me anytime.