Yesterday my grief and depression teamed up to go to battle with another team within me, grit and determination, before the morning light filtered through the window shades. Despite my intentions I forfeited to team number one. By doing so when I picked up our daughter from school I had spent the last five hours either asleep curled up under the covers or silently naming things that began with the letters of the alphabet backwards until sleep would claim me again. Being awake was too painful.
Yet as I backed out of our garage I managed a genuine smile as the continual promised gray skies have yielded to surprise sunshine, driving the grayness of the outside away. My smile wasn’t plastered on so our daughter wouldn’t know I was hiding my feelings from her and the ignition of the homework routine wasn’t a battle for me, even the math. While I didn’t manage to accomplish much on my “to do” list, having given into my despair, it helped. Though I must promise myself not to allow many days like yesterday. Grief has to be worked through and I have to be careful not to pity myself into a break with reality.
Today, as I didn’t start on the portion of my list of tasks yesterday, I have only one major task to accomplish: the farewell steps of leaving my professional career. It has to be today for I have no other choice now. I’ve waited for a reprieve and none has arrived. I’ve prayed for a miracle either a miracle of healing or of changed minds and attitudes but it hasn’t been granted. Today I will:
- Pack up 13 years of my professional life. Give away what I do not want and bring the rest home to either incorporate into our home’s décor or go to a local mission thrift shop tomorrow.
- Type up and turn in my withheld letter of resignation because I have yet to accept, yes even now, that this is happening.
- Turn in my “wad of keys”, ID badge, parking decal, Wal-Mart credit card and Sam’s Membership Card to Human Resources.
- Drive toward home no longer employed, no longer able to identify myself as what I do for a living and tasting the bitterness of knowing I am now a case number with the long term disability insurance company and soon, with Social Security.
I am struck suddenly, with the realization of how familiar the feelings I am having now mirror the ones I had before my amputation. Feelings of being herded into a decision I didn’t want to make but had to. Realizing I’ve used up my last options. Knowing the hour is fast approaching when I will have those last moments to stop this door from opening and closing behind me.
Really, I could and I feel the urge to do so like I felt the urge to yell, “No, I’ve changed my mind!” when I was being wheeled towards the operating room to have my leg amputated. Legally my job is mine until the last minute of my F.M.L.A. runs out on January 10. I could have my doctor fax over a release to return to work and wheel in on the 9th ready to work an eight hour day or a ten hour one.
But I know I won’t. At least I don’t imagine I will. Just like I didn’t change my mind about the amputation because the reality is what the reality is for I can’t work four to five eight to twelve hour days anymore. My body just won’t take the pressure or the stress. I risk my life to keep working, for the next time the blood clot could kill me. How many times has God dodged that bullet for me? Or the next infection which my body doesn’t even fight on its own anymore, will be so out of control by the time I get to help it will have progressed to far to save my life.
The door is opening, my own hand is on the knob and the weight of me and my power chair are propelling it to yield to us…
Behind me are the ruins of a time of my life in which I’ve felt successful, useful, needed, respected…
The time to tear down has for the time being, reached a final phase. I can’t see what is on the other side of this doorway but I know, “I never walk alone.”