Tuesday, October 22, 2013

lingering fog

In the first days after Adam died, I felt like I was thinking through thick fog, like I didn't have access to all of my brain.

Even the simplest decisions were hard, and the hard ones were Sisyphean. My friends were amazing. They listened while I talked through choices slowly, and, though they offered their opinions and pointed out things I didn't see, they let me make decisions.

There were also resolutions, courses of action I knew to be right and necessary without having to decide. These came like bright beacons from a lighthouse. At no other time in my life have I heard the still small voice so clearly.

I remember having read somewhere that sometimes a coma is the body's way of making space for physical healing to happen. I realized the fog was like that, a protective blanket creating space for psychological healing. Despite my occasional frustration at my own plodding thoughts, I embraced the fog and tried to be patient.

Emerging into awareness was so hard. In the fog, I had been conscious of the enormity of my loss, but as the fog retreated, the small, everyday implications came into focus.

When I first returned to my research and writing when the kids returned to school after Labor Day,  I thought the fog had lifted, that I had my brain back.

I was wrong.

There is a lingering fog at the edges. Most of the time, I don't even notice it. Then, it reasserts itself. Perhaps because I've worked too long or because I've asked too much, expecting my current self to be like my old self. As I get deeper into revisions and need to make complex decisions, I...can't. I can feel the idea that will fill the gap, but I can't assemble the words. I stare at the problem and the fog advances until I have to walk away from the work. I have a deadline coming up, and it scares me.

I have four jobs right now: Mom, Dissertation Writer, Head of Household, and Executor of Estate. Each of those is full-time. I am not excelling at any of them, and recognizing that is humbling.

Even worse, though, is how the fog affects my relationships with other people.

I'm absent-minded in a way I never was before, and I keep double booking myself and the children. I put things in my calendar, but forget to check the calendar when making commitments. Then, I try to think of how I can manage both things, which rarely comes out well. So, I end up having to call someone and apologize for asking to reschedule, and that kills me.

I have no patience for bullshit, and my nice is broken.

I want to not need the protective blanket of fog, but I recognize that if it's still here, I still need it.

Forgive me and bear with me, please.