Muddle: to act in a confused or aimless way
Most days, I’m muddling through.
I make mistakes.
I forget to do things.
I forget when trash day is.
Or I just don’t take it out because it’s raining and I don’t want to.
I miss deadlines even when they are clearly marked in color on my calendar.
I forget to call someone or I just don’t. Or can’t.
I zone out.
My brain gets foggy. Thick.
My concentration wanders.
I can’t remember the names of friends’ children and grandchildren.
Time has become fluid. I don’t know if something happened three months ago or a year ago.
I can’t remember if I told someone something or just thought it.
I can’t remember words.
My speech is often halting.
I lose focus mid-conversation. “What? What did you say?”
I don’t say what I mean and have to start all over again, concentrating on using the right words.
(There’s a scientific reason for all of this behavior https://www.wypr.org/post/your-brain-grief )
Sometimes I go to bed super early out of pure exhaustion or pure frustration, to put an end to the shitstorm of the day, to escape.
I don’t sleep well or enough.
My blood pressure is high.
I have breakdowns. Not as many as I used to. Rarely the kind which feel like I’ve cried myself inside out. But last month, after hitting a deer, having my doctor order tests for suspected rheumatoid arthritis, and finding out that my plumbing was leaking under my house, I broke. I got up the morning after I’d talked to the plumber, and I cried in the shower and on the way to work, at work, and teared up in the middle of a department meeting. I couldn’t shoulder one more damned thing.
I can’t do it all. The demands of daily adult life are tough, but they are intensified in the life of a someone who is grieving.
Yet, I know that I don’t have to be strong all the time. A dear friend reminded me of this truth as I cried last month at work.
So, I get up and go at it again each new day. I set my intention to do better. I ask God for strength. My dad’s advice echoes in my ears: do the best you can–that’s all your mother and I ever ask of you. Each new day, I say to myself, I will be a better person today. I might not have perfect clarity or be articulate or drink enough water, but dammit, I can try.
So, on the flip side of all of the memory lapses and mistakes and tears, I persist.
I’m figuring myself out. I’m reflective. I write for myself and for this blog. I’ve joined a writing group at the public library. I’ve moved. I get up every day and teach over 100 students. I visit my parents as often as possible and feel grateful to have them both so near. I have a second part-time teaching job. I buy tools and fix things I’m capable of doing myself. If I don’t feel like cleaning the whole bathroom, I scrub the sink today and the shower tomorrow. I cook and do laundry and recycle and pamper my pets and pay my bills and make plans for summer. I redirect every “how are you?” to whoever is asking and try to listen with compassion to their responses. I feel wiser. I know if I want change, I have to create it.
I’m not quitting on myself just because Todd isn’t here to love me. I try to remember that he did love me, and remembering what he loved about me reminds me that I’m worth my effort.
Yes, I’m muddling through.