The last post here was November, a post I’m sure was buoyed by the energy of attending NCTE in Minneapolis.
That’s a long time ago in blogville, though, if you want to cultivate readers. Readers seem to like regular content.
I’ve been working on a bigger writing project–a book about not grading. So that writing was sucking up the spaces I had to write in between the time I spent in my classroom and responding to my students’ writing in the time I have outside of school. I was making good progress.
But all that came to a screeching halt about three and a half weeks ago when my father passed away very suddenly. One moment everything was fine and the very next my husband was driving me (quickly) down US36 to meet my mom and brother at the ER, me sobbing in the passenger seat.
And now I’m in totally new territory.
I lost a student in December, and as horrible as that was and is still (my students’ grief surfaces in their writing so we keep working on it together), it’s a place I’ve been before. Too many times to be certain. So at least I had a few ideas about the landscape.
This loss though? Totally new.
I have guides. My dear friends and colleagues who have walked this path before have been so wonderful.
I’ve learned that the sadness comes in waves. That wearing his sweatshirt helps. That people in my life are exceedingly kind and patient. That one day I’m pretty okay and the next I’m not. That my mom is the strongest person on this planet. That it’s important to drink water (this came to me in a critical text I got from fellow PaperGrader, Jay, that first day after).
I tweeted today for the first time since–a silly tweet about torturing my freshmen during 5th hour with “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” by Poison. I responded to a thread in the NCTE Teaching and Learning forum. I’m writing this post. All of these are signs that I’m slowly increasing my bandwith for things beyond sleep, yoga, walks, getting to school on time and staying there all day, regular applications of food, hanging out with my mom and brother and with my kid and husband, and collecting all the pictures I have of my dad.
And the eulogy. It’s slowly dripping out of me. My brother and I will deliver it together at the service in mid-April. My head writes when I’m in the shower or walking around the lake by our school. I collect details and moments in the conversations I’m having with Mom and brother and cousins and friends and aunts and uncles. My fingers type in bursts of sentences. All of it pretty jagged right now. But I have time, and I’ll get there.
We’re humans. This is all part of the experience. One of my guides on this road said to me as we walked into school together one morning last week, “It never goes away, but it does get easier.”
Yes, grief, I know you and I are companions now.
And I’m okay. I’m sad, and confused, and exhausted, and grateful, but I’ll be okay.