I followed the road back to me, and found that I was no longer there.

On Sunday afternoon I broke down in great buckets of tears, more tears than since that cold, snowy Sunday last January I spent by myself in St. Paul’s, pouring myself out while listening to Ingrid Michaelson on repeat, on the day before we celebrated Catherine.

Last week, in the wrenching, helpful book Before and After Loss, I read this:

As we grapple with loss, let’s be thoughtful about healing, restoration, and growth. Let’s not be satisfied with healing and restoration alone, let’s strive for growth. Healing results in the survival of a coherent self after traumatic loss. Growth recasts today’s insurmountable problems as tomorrow’s opportunities.

Sunday’s volcano of tears came not from sadness, but, ultimately, from understanding the truth of that statement.

I have been healing and restoring, slowly but surely, reestablishing a firm foundation, both internally and as regards the laundry and the celebration of major holidays.

What I haven’t been doing is growing. Instead I’ve kept myself lashed to a particular version of me, a self that, in so many ways, no longer exists.

This is a stage of grief I didn’t anticipate: it’s not at all about loss or absence or death, it’s about what happens next. It’s not about anyone else but me. And that’s weird.

It never occurred to me that would be overwhelming, as overwhelming, in fact, than much of what’s come before. Fortunately, coming out the other side of the cavalcade of tears I found myself hopeful. That was nice.

And this morning I gave physical form to that need for rearrangement by recasting our living room. Like me, most of the parts are original equipment; but how they fit together is very much “you mean I could put that over there!?” Onward.


Andrew's picture
Andrew on March 15, 2021 - 14:28 Permalink

I think it would be incredibly difficult to grow - or reinvent - oneself during the COVID era, so I do hope that you’re not being too hard on yourself.

Having a loved one pass away would be hard enough during normal times when distractions and events are abundant, I couldn’t imagine having such a loss just before a pandemic started pushing people apart.

Oliver Rukavina's picture
Oliver Rukavina on March 15, 2021 - 16:16 Permalink

The Library really looks like it is going back to it's hey day before we moved into 100 Prince Street.

Oliver Rukavina's picture
Oliver Rukavina on March 15, 2021 - 16:17 Permalink

and The Living Room is going back to the 00s.