Tuesday, July 16, 2013

After the End: Rest

Everyone has a special place where they can go when things are bed.  This was my special place.  My childhood home.  The place where love, memories and my mom lived.  A place where, no matter how old I got, I could still go home to.  This was the place I went to immediately after the end of the first abusive workplace situation to heal.

After I was walked out the door that day, I immediately encountered difficulties I hadn't counted on.

First was "letting go".  Not of all the hurt, the pain and the confusion.  That would take months, years of therapy. It would take support.  Being allowed to tell my story.

All of that was in the future.

No, my immediate challenge was letting go of the job itself.  The duties.  The feeling of responsibility.  Even the caring.

You see, I was driven to get the job done.  I put 100% (if not more) not only into that job, but into every job I've ever had.  It was a matter of pride with me.

If I was going to do anything, it was going to be well.

Early on in this scenario, even with everything seeming to be stacked against me - and especially as it escalated and it became more and more apparent that I would not be staying - I determined to stick with it and do my best - do 100%, not slack off - until the end.

To that end, I even took upon myself the task of writing up and printing out a detailed document on how to do my job.  Customer requirements.  Special handling agreements forged with customers.  How to process orders, returns, etc.  Everything anyone would need to come in untrained and have a fighting chance of successfully doing the job.

In retrospect, I'm not sure giving 100% to the end was a good idea or not.

Because when the end did come - swiftly and brutally - I was still in 100% work mode.  Being walked out the door with no allowance to say goodbye gave me no space to change modes.  To get acclimated to my new normal.

As I was walked out the door that day, I don't think I totally realized just how final it was.  Nor did I realize that this was just the beginning of a whole new scenario.  One filled with pain.  Confusion.  And exhaustion.  Exhaustion that clung to me long after the job ended like diesel fumes in a truck yard.

When I woke up the next morning, my mind started to automatically go to what I needed to do at work that day ... UNTIL I realized that there was no work.  Not that day.  Not any day.  It was over.  Finito.  Done.

I had to manually rework my mind to encompass my new reality.

My husband gave me some tasks to accomplish while he was at work.  Keeping me occupied that first day on simple tasks which needed to be done helped.

In the weeks leading up to the end, I had determined that if the worst happened and I was out the door, I needed a break.  I needed to go away.  Yes, I would have to come back to my new reality.  But for the short term, I needed a safe place to hide out.  To rest.  To do nothing.

And what better place to have that space than to go home to Mama for a couple of weeks.  Back to the place where I grew up. Back to things that were familiar.  To old friends.  To Mom - who had known me all my life and still (amazingly) loved me.  To be taken care of instead of having to take care of others.

So I did.

It was a good decision.

I was exhausted.  No energy.  Usually, when I went home to Mom we would go shopping, do things.  Not this time.  This time was spent with vegging, napping, listening to music, napping, writing in a journal, napping, eating out since I was in no shape to cook and she was getting past cooking.

It was also the last trip I was to make to my childhood home and be cosseted as a child in that house as my mom decided to sell the house shortly after and move to an assisted living place near my older sister in another state.

In the early 70s, my dad, a true Southern gentleman, bought a little (and I do mean little) magnolia tree.  The first year, it had two little blooms - one on each side.  Mom and Dad took pictures of it each year as it grew.  My last visit was in early April, the time when the magnolia bloomed.  It had turned into a glorious tree.  That year it was full of blooms.  Sparrows flitted from branch to branch.  A flurry of activity and song.  One drizzly morning, I watched as the sparrows flitted about in the tree from blossom to blossom calling out to each other.  A memory which soothed my battered soul.

And that, in a nutshell, was the purpose of that trip:  to soothe my battered soul.  To regroup.  To put in place initial steps for ongoing healing.  To be able to return to my new reality and cope.

A place I would never be able to go to again.

The old house was sold.  New owners with young children occupy it now.  Mom moved away to spend her final years close to one of her children.  Never again would I be able to come back to that house and have Mom take care of me.  But the memories live on.  Her love for me lives on.  And my gratitude for having her there to help me out at that time in life lives on.




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