The past three or four weeks sit like a blur in my rearvision. I slumped, with the weather, into automaton. Barely any writing, not a lot of making. The weather. The weather. It is all that anyone talks about, and yes, it’s boring – but it’s much more in-your-face when you’re living on a boat beside an inlet – it appears that the weather took over my brain and shaped my spirit. With grey.
A week ago, after being rescued from a flat battery, I left the Smalls at home to do the grocery shopping. It rained, and rained, and rained. M had inside wiring to do and was able to keep an eye on them. I was pushing the trolley and feeling… Feeling freedom. And it seems that if I finally feel like exhaling, if I feel free when doing the SHOPPING, then I probably need a break. Right?
We are in that space again – the dragging WEATHER, the small space, my lack of motivation and energy, the five days being primary Small wrangler and the two days at work. My mum is away, so I can’t call her and say, “My mind is melting, can I bring the Smalls to you?”
This situation is hard for two reasons;
1) because I never recognise it until I’m well past the end of my tether, and
2) because having chosen to ‘homeschool’ it feels like I should suck it up.
The first reason is rife with stupidity. I have never battled so much with my depleted willpower as I have the last few weeks. From late June for a month or so I was getting up and writing 1000 words most mornings. You won’t see them here, but I got to 20,000 words or so… But then… My friend, who has worked as a counsellor for many years and has asked a few times how I’m going, told me: “It’s two or three months afterwards, when everyone assumes you’re getting over the loss, that’s when it can get even harder.” Yes.
You get your thirty days of mourning and then society indicates that you better snap-back to your pre-grief body and get on with things. And you do, for a while. Hardly realising that a slinking black whippet of sorrow remains on your shoulders. It lies there, gaining weight, becoming a stealthy black labrador. It takes weeks to notice it, breathing gently near your ear – and then… there’s a few days where the sky is brighter, the rain stops, everything begins to feel less like you’re clawing through it. There is more fluidity.
That’s when you see the dog and coax it back down to whippet-size with walking, with writing, with reading. An almost weightless black whippet that nudges you every now and again – when you read the obituary, when the car stops working, when you can’t sleep… Most of the time it feels to me like my dad is still here, except he’s not. And my family (not my Boat Family, my other one) feels fractured. King hit by something everyone saw coming. There are pieces…
The difficulty with the whippet and the labrador and the noticing and the weather is that I process none of it in a conscious way until I write it down, or maybe tell someone. But telling someone, unless they’re EMPLOYED to listen, is an exercise in futility, because; what can anyone do?
Have I ever mentioned one of my favourite quotes? It’s from Flannery O’Connor – I haven’t read a lot of her writing, but this quote of hers suits me down to the ground:
So when there is no writing, I lose sight of where my tether is at, or if it has ceased to exist at all….
I looked back at July on this blog, and there is no July. I freaked out, but then I looked back to Small Z’s seventh birthday at Luna Park, and it didn’t even get MENTIONED. So then I really freaked out and dug out all the photos and did all the tedious uploading, file naming, tagging…and wrote it up. Thank GOD. Bugger July 2015, I will splatter it with pictures – because of my instagram habit, I kept taking them, and therefore have a visual record of the grey smudge…it wasn’t ALL grey.
And the suck-it-up-homeschooler burnout? It happens. Homeschooling, unless you’re a dickhead, is not the easy choice. I have chosen not to hand my kid over to someone else for six-hours a day, but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally want to!! The night I have away at my mother’s (empty) house is saving me at the moment. I would love to have people over and hang out on that night each week, but it is my solace. My only island of solitude each week and I can’t bear to give it up. It is then that I make my lists, do my sums, write some stuff and catch up with Kevin*. (Sorry L, if you are out there, it will happen…)