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.