One year

Today is one year. As I write this, it’s one year to the exact minute that I received the call from Mike’s mom.

I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal, just another day. I thought I was okay.

It’s hard.

I woke up with a throbbing headache at 4:30. Lauren was crying out for me at 5 a.m., and she and I cuddled for a half hour. I showered, got dressed, packed my lunch. If I didn’t have to interview a job candidate this afternoon, I would have stayed in bed.

It snowed last night. Not much, but a slick snowy coat covered the roads as I took Ethan to school.

I thought about cancelling my oil change appointment, but I was already WAY overdue. Of course, I was ridiculously early for the appointment, so I went through a drive thru – maybe caffeine would help my headache, I thought. (It didn’t.)

Then I drove around. I wanted to find an empty parking lot and just sit, maybe sneak in a 10-minute nap. But the snow… nearly every lot was being plowed, and those that weren’t plowed REALLY needed it.

After driving around for 20 minutes, I found an acceptable lot, parked and sat. I couldn’t move. I just stared at a discount dry cleaners, a hair cut place and sandwich restaurant. I watched the reflection of the cars from the road behind me. As the reflections moved along the plate-glass windows, their shape changed – short to long, thin to fat, tall to short. It was like watching a fun house mirror.

I was very conscious of my breathing. In, out. Deep breaths.

I felt like I couldn’t move anything other than my eyes, watching those cars in the reflection. Several times, I thought, “It’s time. I need to get to the car dealer.” But I couldn’t seem to lift my head, let alone my arms or legs to physically drive the car.

My email dinged. New message. It was about tomorrow’s alumni board meeting at my alma mater. There’s no way, I thought. It took everything in me to pull my head off the back of the car seat. I emailed back: “I thought I was fine. I’m not. Won’t be there tomorrow.”

I glanced at the time. Just enough time to get to the dealer.

Pulled into the garage, checked in, walked to the waiting room.

I emailed a few people at work (someone from IT was coming to check my laptop and a student wanted to talk about internships) – I’m going to be late, I wrote, blaming it on the weather and road conditions.

Of course, as soon as I walked into my building, the IT guy and the student were waiting for me in the hall outside my office. I rushed through both meetings, sent them on their ways, and shut my door.

I walked over to my window and looked out at the snow-covered quad. Without warning, the tears just came.

4 thoughts on “One year

  1. I buried my husband the day after Thanksgiving in 2011. My children are grown. One turned twenty-six and another twenty-eight this week. My wedding anniversary was yesterday– thirty years. Just keep holding on. It’s a bold way to behave. I look forward to hearing more of your story.

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