When a computer gets frozen, and the task manager isn’t doing anything, sometimes you need to press the button and shut down everything. It’s called a hard reset. Vacation 2020 is my hard reset.
Dad died on April 27, holding my hand as he took his last breath. Many people have remarked about this year as a hard year for me and, being in the middle of it, makes it hard to reply ‘yes, the pandemic is the cherry on a shit sundae.’ The stress seemed to short out my brain and I felt crispy in my final week before Vacay day. Even as the first week of holidays closes, I can feel the heaviness as I type these words. I also know writing provides the way out.
The other task providing a way out is exercise and it’s back to the personal trainer I go. The gym instituted protocols in accordance with the province much like many other reopened businesses. (Don’t worry we are doing in phases.) Manitoba drives its residents crazy, okay me, with its slow approach but this time it’s welcomed. Another motivation: don’t follow the protocols, pay heavy fines. My trainer wears a mask, the gym is at half capacity, select lockers closed to allow social distancing, with the rest cleaned during the 30 minute shut down. (I mean it’s shut down. Staff walk around with signs at the 15 and 5 minute mark to tell people to clear out.) We are on a hot streak of zero cases yet holding our breath. It’s a weird normal for some while I shrug my shoulders and go ‘anything else?’
The first week is an adjustment period. I chose to be off for most of July, I got 25 days this year, and it’s hard not thinking about the things I could do during the quiet period at work. Honestly, If I come back better focused, it’s win-win for everyone, especially me. The person usually tackling new things with both hands disappeared for a while and the one still in the dining room chair felt like she had to think ten times harder to focus on one task. I learned it’s called ‘grief fog’ or ‘grief brain.’ That’s only a small part of grief.
The second week of vacation, the one currently in progress, feels less sluggish. I began to clean corners in my condo and not checking my work email. I do feel lost at the moment. There are no phone calls in the morning, no voice messages from mom reminding me to call, and I want to tell mom about the learning management shell I did despite running on fumes mentally. I want this sadness to abate and not think about the uncertainty of this moment. I want a funeral mass for dad, a chance for his friends to say goodbye. At some point, I felt buried under all the ‘I wants’ and decided to move forward in small ways.
Starting with this site.
Stacks and Ranges started at the beginning of my library career and things changed too much to keep the name going. I will still write about libraries and reading but I never stuck myself in a niche and I am not about to start now. I deleted the domain and began ‘ An Unpaused Life.’ Baby step 1: New Name. The rest will happen day by day.