A New Pace

“So I have been thinking…” is a phrase Robbie lovingly complains about hearing from me since we bought our new house.  I just can’t turn off this switch inside of me that wants to continuously be improving something in our house.  I understand that Robbie enjoys his time off in between projects, therefore I force myself not to expose him completely to my full list of plans.  I am fully prepared to do most of the work and to do what it takes to get it done.  I see something that needs attention, I come up with a plan, I execute it.  That is how I operate.  I don’t like to procrastinate. What I do like is placing a large “done” stamp on things.

Before leaving to Utah, I looked at Emilie’s room and thought “What now?”.  My brain turned on its logical side as I came up with a plan.  When I get home from Utah, I will take all her art work and make them into books.  I will paint her room and reinvent it.  I can divide her special books and toys up between her sisters and donate the rest. The painful list I made went on and on.  When I get home…I will face this when I get home.

Utah had been a good break, but I began to feel like staying away was just stalling the reality of my new life.  I needed to move forward.  But as the plane to Connecticut inched its way across the map, the fear in me began to grow.  I was scared.

I entered my house with eyes directed to the floor, worried to look around.  Gaining courage, I slowly brought my eyes up and looked at our once perfect reality.  It was a frozen picture of what life was like the morning of Dec. 14th.  The excitement of the holiday season was everywhere.  I looked down at our advent calendar that remained unopened from the 15th and on.  In the kitchen, there was a handful of “fancy things” Emilie had collected off the floor of the craft store that she never put away.  One thing after another.  This was my life as it had been.  Strangely, as hard and painful as it was to see pieces of Emilie everywhere, I also took so much comfort in each memory brought back to me.

As I tried to conquer each task before me with my usually vigor, I was hit with the reality of my new limitations.  What I didn’t understand about grief is that it changes your ability to operate.  For the first time in my life I was unable to even start a project.  Ironically, a movie I never even liked before gave me a glimpse on how to take the next step.  I turned to the “wisdom” spoken in the movie What About Bob.  I could hear Dr. Leo Marvin tell Bob, “Baby steps to the door. Baby steps to the elevator.”  Right now I am not capable of big steps.  Everything in my life now has to be broken down into small tasks.  Small tasks that completely wipe me out.  I have to tell myself to empty the dishwasher and force myself to finish.  Getting the girls dressed…wow…I could never have anticipated how hard that would be now.  I have different expectations for myself.  It is hard not to demand more, but I know I am not emotionally, mentally and physically capable to work at that level.  Do I think this is a forever thing? No.  But I take it one task at a time and one step at a time.  I am forced to “Baby-Step” through each day…

baby steps copy