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Grieving is not Linear

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Spent all morning trying to do something simple my spare child wanted but didn’t directly ask for because she doesn’t want to push me. She just mentioned it would be awesome and left it there. I didn’t promise and have been putting it off. It took me all morning and it’s still unusable. All she wanted was a recording of me reading my own d@&$ed children’s book aloud for the grand babies (the 2 year old loves to sit and point to my picture on the back and say “Gamma Bear” over and over). Read-alouds used to be one of my best gifts as a teacher for the same reason I spent years as an actor. Now, I can’t even read my own words without messing them up. And can’t make a simple video. It took me ten minutes to find decent light. Ten minutes more to figure out how to prop up the laptop (no one willing to help me set up the phone). First try every interruption possible happens. Second, the volume was nonexistent. Third the video and audio was okay but I still made mistakes reading my own book and had to keep closing one eye to see it as I held it next to me face because my vision is so messed up. I cried myself to sleep on the recliner when I finished the filming and couldn’t upload it. I woke up, checked FB to find the kindergarten teacher from the school I had to leave has posted a read aloud for her distance learning kiddos (exactly what I would’ve done in her place-she’s a thoughtful and loving teacher). May she never know how much that hurt. The last time I cried that long and that hard, there was a funeral involved. A kid’s. They tell me sometimes you have to sit and let yourself grieve the old you. I guess I haven't yet. Today it feels like every thing that made me feel confident over the years, like there was something I was good at that not everyone was, has been stripped away. Running? Gone. Sends my RLS through the roof. I can do it and my stamina and form are not as bad as I would expect after not doing it for forever. As soon as I get home and cool down and stretch, if I sit down, the RLS starts and I will be up all night. Even if the legs stop the RLS insomnia sticks with me. Music- I sing off key and no longer instinctively breathe with my diaphragm. I can’t remember songs I have had memorized for decades. I can’t remember key signatures and my rhythm is off. I play something on an instrument and cannot hold three or four notes in my head long enough to write them down. Art- I have wonderful ideas that I can’t hold in my mind long enough to fight past the executive dysfunction and get to putting on paper. When I get there it’s a minor miracle if I stick with the piece to it’s completion and it all looks so lifeless and not me when it’s done. Language/Reading- my first favorite book was Webster’s Unabridged. Seriously. Made Mom read to me out of it at night. I’ve always picked up language like a fish to water. I was reading at college level before I was out of primary school. Now I can’t read more than a paragraph in a row. I can decode it and sometimes comprehend pieces but only while I’m reading them. Once I turn the page or close the book, it’s gone. And I can’t. Even. Read. My own. Little. Book. I spent 6 years writing and illustrating that book. I used the countless drafts to show my students the value of revision, editing, and every tool there in.
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