I returned to work yesterday. It was a daunting feat, but a necessary one. I'd submerged myself in alone-time last week to ensure I could feel the full gamut of emotions I needed to feel. I gave them their due. I kept busy but allowed myself moments/hours to feel what I felt. But by Sunday I was ready to go back to work—or at least be “out and among.” To be busy and distracted and productive sounded like a wonderful idea. And it was. A couple of well-wishers stopped by my desk, and that was lovely, but for the most part I don’t think many people noticed I was back in the office. Many of them probably hadn’t noticed how long I’d been gone or why. The day went well, in fact I felt good to be back in the Aeron saddle again. The morning passed quickly. I ran across the street to Corner Bakery and indulged in a chopped salad. Delicious! The second I finished it, I had the impulse to call Ken and see what he had for lunch. Weird. I dipped my toes into a the sadness pool, but kept jumping in. “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.”
I left about 4:30. I felt triumphant and even texted my sister-in-law with said confidence. "Day 1 down!" As I rode the elevator up in the parking garage I could feel my emotions rising as well. As soon as I got into the car the tears streamed down my face and my chin quivered uncontrollably. The dam burst, and there was no holding it back—even if I’d wanted to. I used to love coming home. And seeing my sweet man. I knew we'd hang out and commiserate or celebrate, depending on the kind of days we’d had, over cocktails. It's sad and disappointing not to have that anymore. It’s another familiar experience that seems so empty and pointless and dull without him. Our time together was usually full of fun and laughter, but it was sacred at the same time. We replenished each other as well as ourselves.
I think a deeper challenge that I hadn't yet considered is finding meaning in my life. Before…just being part of “us” carried so much meaning for me. It was the multi-faceted foundation that acted as a spring board for everything else. I still had a strong sense of self but my life was bigger than me. The sum of us was greater than either if us individually. Therein lies the new challenge: creating a foundation to keep me stable and support me as I figure out what my life will look like and how it can serve me best. And serve the lessons I learned alongside the most amazing man I have ever known. I know he'd want our love and our life together to be a building block for me, not a stumbling block.
The bar in finding meaning in what I do in my life has been raised to just out of reach, it seems. When Ken was here it didn't really matter what I did all day because I came home to him in the evenings, and that was the time we worked on planning and pursuing our dreams. Now that time is over, and it feels like since it can’t ever be re-created, that it has to be taken to the next level in order to do it justice. What is that? I’m not exactly sure, but I’ll know it when I see it.
Giving myself permission to be excited about the possibilities that lie ahead won’t an easy task. It would feel like I’m abandoning my old life, and Ken. But it’s not time for that yet. I have a lot more feeling--and intellectualizing--to do before I get there.