Sunday, January 03, 2010

Getting ready for the day

This is just one of those days when I'm dreading going into work. There's nothing horrific on the agenda, but our busy season has started. While other retailers were going crazy before Christmas, I had too much time on my hands. But now, the engagement rings under the tree have been opened. The plan ahead girls with thoughts of 2011 weddings are beginning a leisurely quest for the perfect wedding dress, and June weddings suddenly seem much closer than they did a few weeks ago.

It's not the hectic pace I'm dreading. I prefer being busy to looking for something productive to fill my time or calculating just how much time I have left on the clock. It's just that something happens every day that makes me hurt. A bride will show off her engagement ring, all shiny and new. I'll smile and enjoy her excitement. Then a moment later, as I'm filling out paperwork, I'll see my own finger with only the imprint of rings worn for over 20 years. It's as empty as the house I come home to each night.

Yesterday, a woman around my age came into the store looking for a dress for her upcoming wedding. Her last husband died a month after mine did. I was a bit stunned. How did she get over it by now? I'm not suggesting my loss was greater than hers. I know that I haven't handled this loss well and haven't reached any peace about our complicated marriage and love. I just want that peace of moving forward so badly, and I'm sick of feeling stuck.

I probably unfairly put too much emphasis on the role my job has had in this. I really try not to do this, but my mind works by linking things together intuitively. A mother of the bride will be stressed out over the short time frame to organize her daughter's wedding, and I'll remember putting my own church wedding together in two weeks. A father will come in looking for something to guide him through a dance with his daughter, and I'll know that my daughter will never have that. I'll never share that certain look of pride, tenderness and love with C.'s dad again when she did something that grabbed us deep in our hearts. Several people have told me that my job must be fun. I just smile and say, "Oh, it's a happy place to work."

I want a break from memory. Amnesia feels preferable to this constant scraping of a wound, and I can't help but wonder if I would be farther along this road of healing if I hadn't taken this job. However, after having been unemployed for six months, the chance for any income at all was not something I was going to turn down. I'd been living on $38.00 a week unemployment. Yes, $38.00. That amount was based on my last few months as a mortgage broker when the housing market collapsed. Emotional torture, as disgusting as it is, is still preferable to depending on relatives to keep your utilities on and living on rice. What a choice.

But that's been my life, and despite today's bitch rant, I still think I've handled it fairly well. That I've been able to find mere moments of peace and even a laugh or two along way has been a major fucking accomplishment as far as I'm concerned. That thought alone has brought some steel back to my spine and dried my tears. I'm up to putting on the waterproof mascara now, and I can find the welcoming smile that is one of my strengths at this job.

I may not be fun now, but I know I'm strong.


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Maybe this job has made things harder, maybe it hasn't. Perhaps it has made you confront sadness you otherwise might have stuffed, and which would have caused you to fall into a more dangerous depression. I think there is something to be said for being forced to confront our personal grief out in the world where we have to do a certain amount of dealing with it just to get through a day. Life will be all about "dealing with it;" the pain will never go completely away, and we need to learn to pick it up and take it with us wherever we go. Perhaps this job has moved you forward on this path--perhaps a little more quickly than you really wanted to go...

January 03, 2010 11:41 AM  
Blogger Nelle said...

I'm not sure what to say. I know that I have not experienced the death of a spouse and I am certain that each person handles it differently. Sometimes at work when the young girls talk about their babies I feel sad knowing that phase of life has passed me by. I know that you are strong and that you are healing, not on anyone else's timetable but your own and that's as it should be.

January 03, 2010 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your writing is wonderful, raw, honest, and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart in this way.

January 03, 2010 7:10 PM  
Blogger sunflowerkat321 said...

Finding strength is a critical part of getting through the grieving process. I know sometimes it's more difficult than others, and sometimes the challenges can be anticipated and sometimes, they come out of the blue. I think Lisa's right, hiding from it wouldn't have necessarily made it any easier. The reminders are going to find us throughout our lives.

January 03, 2010 8:36 PM  

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