I’ve been here.
I’ve returned to school after a devastating loss before, and I did it again today.
Days like these are strange, tiring and full of uncertainty. Will I be able to hold myself together? Can I make it through? Do I have it in me to accept the “we missed you’s,” the knowing eyes and nods, and not break down into a blubbery mess?
I felt like one of those candies – the cherry cordials. The one with the waxy hard shell and the super gooey insides.
I hate cherry cordials.
Had it not been for the “soft landing” gifts my colleagues left me –
had it not been for the air hugs I was offered in the hallways –
had it not been for texts with little more than a heart or the word “hug” –
had it not been for friends to arrange dinner, or a bottle of wine, or an errand –
had it not been for supervisors who offered grace and assistance beyond what I could hope to expect –
had it not been for family members who gave unconditional support and validation –
had it not been for the notes of sympathy from students of mine who just wanted to reach out –
had it not been for flowers that awaited me after a long drive home from the funeral –
had it not been for my husband and son, whose physical presence at that funeral meant more than I could say –
had it not been for the power of hugs when they are discouraged but so desperately needed –
had it not been for a family not my own to take me as one of theirs in a time I felt utterly alone –
had it not been for friends who held me in love and compassion in those early nightmarish days –
this strong shell, already cracked to pieces, most certainly would have shattered.
14 thoughts on “Upon Re-Entry”
So sorry for your loss. The outpouring of love and support surely kept the shell from shattering.
Thank you. And yes…it absolutely did.
First, I’m so sorry for your loss. I offer you an air hug too. I wish I could find solace for your heartbreak.
Air hug received! Thank you.
So sorry for your loss but I am glad you had support from so many. Take care.
Thank you. I will try!
Dear Lainie: I remember your writing on the devastating loss of your brother and your searing, poetic words … I am sitting here feeling all of that stirring up again, like a layer of dry autumn leaves caught by a new and bitter wind, spiraling back in to the air. Gives me a deep ache in my heart. Loss IS a deep ache, a void in the heart … I am sorry. I thank God for the lovingkindness and tender mercies your colleagues have given … small actions (the flower fairy!) are so great at such times… know I am writing with love and petitions for sustaining power each day. For a respite from the numbness, for a safe landing place for your mind, all that begins to make us strong in the broken places of our “cracked shells.” This week I learned that turtles can feel through their shells… well, there’s a metaphor waiting to be explored… I am grateful for you, kindred spirit writer-friend. I grieve for you.
Fran, thank you so much for your kindness and compassion. I will take every big of sustenance and love you’ve offered, and store it for those moments when I need them most. As for the turtle shells, that is DEFINITELY a metaphor to dig into. At some point that image will tug on my sleeve and let me know when it’s time to write more. ❤
t, too, am sorry for your loss. Cushions from those around you are comforting during a trying time. Life is uncertain and fragile but we faith. family, and friends we slowly move on. I hope each day gives you more comfort and a boost to believe in the power of children’s smiles.
Thank you. And yes – the smiles, the laughs, and the utter earnestness of the kids I see every day? THAT is worth the price of admission.
Thank you for your comfort and reassurance. Little by little, the fog is lifting.
What a beautiful way to express the loss and the unconditional love we humans are capable of sharing with each other.
Thank you, Ellin. It does amaze me what we as humans are capable of – in ALL directions.