It’s been two weeks and a day since my grandmother died, and I don’t feel like doing anything.
When I posted about her death, I didn’t mention the three weeks of emotional trauma leading up to it. She was rushed to the hospital with symptoms of internal bleeding on 12/12, beginning a rollercoaster of her being unresponsive, showing small signs of consciousness, being taken off a ventilator and able to breathe on her own, being able to talk, showing signs of significant memory loss, and being moved to hospice. Throughout all of that, I played the role of the emotional support eldest daughter, with my mom calling me almost every day, sometimes twice a day, to update my sister and myself (on a three-way call) and talk through her feelings. She was unable to go to Florida to help; her brother had to manage the whole thing alone, and for a while was her only point of communication about my grandmother’s condition. She was often confused about my grandmother’s state. It was weeks of misery capped off by losing her mother.
And, I have to remind myself when I wonder why I feel so glum, losing my grandmother, who was very important to me even if I didn’t see or talk to her often.
I’d had big plans for the first couple of weeks of January, and I found myself unable to actually do any of them. I was finally beginning to feel like maybe next week (this week now? depends on if your week starts on Sunday or Monday) I could dig myself out of this funk enough to get some work done.
And then on Friday, my mom asked my sister and myself to look over her eulogy. It was beautiful, it needed no changes, and I hope that at the graveside service this afternoon, she gets to deliver it.
Ah, yes. The graveside service, taking place in Kodak, TN, where the coronavirus metrics show community transmission is about 4 times worse there than here. So I didn’t go.
I’ve been to three other funerals at that cemetery.
I hate that I’m not at this one, but I would hate getting sick more.
Communicating about my decision not to go was its own source of trauma.
So I probably shouldn’t be mystified by the fact that I don’t feel like doing anything.
I don’t want to write about research or pop culture or even books. I don’t really want to read. I don’t want to watch new things (though I did watch WandaVision).
All I want to do is watch Star Trek: The Next Generation and crochet. That’s it. One stitch at a time, building a beautiful lace shawl, as I sit with these friends who have been with me since I was six years old and watch them behave in all the ways I know they will.
I’ve been tormenting myself for at least a year with the thought of what comes next after I graduate. I was chugging along really nicely on my dissertation. I suspect I’ll be stalled out on it for another week or so. I hope it won’t impact my timeline too much.
I’ve been thinking that what comes next is probably creating my own consulting business. But I realized that as long as my child is home from school, I probably can’t drum up enough work to cover the cost of paying for extra care for him. So the most economically sound thing to do, then, is to set aside consulting work for later, and double down on momming now.
I talked to W. about this and he said,
“I would expect you to just think of yourself as an educator, then.”
This was a good identity perspective for a few reasons. One, it freed me from the idea that I would need to be a full-on homemaker, which I certainly won’t have the energy to do if I’m also educating M. (My mother-in-law has been caring for him in the afternoons at a rate that is beyond a bargain, but even that rate isn’t cheap enough if I’m bring in no income.)
His school has gone fully remote, so that he’s not the only kid or one of two who is remote, which is nice, but it actually requires more hands-on time for me than just letting him putter about the playroom all morning. It’s really good, though.
So. Fine. I’ll be a consultant without contracts. I’ll squeeze my me-time in around his schedule, crocheting while he unschools or reading after he goes to sleep.
And maybe in a week or two, I’ll feel like writing again. I hope so. But I think right now I need to give myself permission to be in this spot of doing nothing, because grief deserves time. And it’s okay to still be grieving my grandmother, who has been in my life for almost 40 years, after two weeks.