Good? Grief

Apologies to Charles Schulz and Charlie Brown. I’m behind on my A to Z challenge. I stalled out whilst working on G, which I originally intended to be on gardening. One of the deals I made with myself in taking on this challenge in my first month of retirement is viewing the challenge as an invitation as opposed to a requirement to write. So I’ve been waiting, sitting with the process. Yesterday, one of my friends on Ragtag Daily Prompt posted G is for Grief. That resonated.

On Dec 30, I was walking out at Barr Lake. On the way there, I was listening to an audiobook on grief. While walking, I was thinking about grief and loss, and recognized that there were some incompletely explored aspects of this in my own life. I stopped for lunch on my way home, writing down a listing of losses/traumas that might merit further exploration. Getting ready for my upcoming retirement. Continuing towards home, things got smoky, and as I’ve written before, most recently here, the Marshall Fire was burning, and suddenly plans shifted and we were packing up and evacuating.

After a few days staying with friends, BA, I, and Ziggy the cat were able to return to our still standing home, just a few blocks from major burned areas. More than 600 of the 8500 homes in our town were destroyed; a great many others had smoke or wind damage. We are all affected. More grief. The process is ongoing, and healing and rebuilding will indeed take years.

I had taken the month of December off from work, a “mini-retirement”, a bit of a test for both me and my clients heading into my final 3 months of work. So, a few days after moving back into the house, still under a boil water order, but with heat and electricity, I went back to work. It was a busy few months, closing with clients, many of whom I’d worked with for years, getting those final visits in, making referrals, etc. Moving stuff from my office home.

Now things are slowing a bit. Last week was my first full week of retirement. The emotional waves have made for interesting surfing. I’m not missing work, I truly am ready to be done. What I’m discovering is that work, projects, family and home obligations, have kept me occupied in many ways, and allowed me to keep my emotions in the background. I didn’t totally avoid my feelings, but I’ve gotten very good at putting them aside while “taking care of business”.

This is, of course, quite common. Life does go on, and there is the usefulness of daily tasks to structure things when one is feeling lost or overwhelmed. And, as I was realizing back in December as the fire was beginning to burn, I’ve a backlog of stuff to work on. I’m not much of a keeper of things, and over the years, I’ve cleared out a lot of tangible stuff. Now, I’m discovering that I have a bunch of intangibles that are going to require more attention. It could prove interesting.

Written for the April A to Z Blogging Challenge and Sunday’s Ragtag Daily Prompt.

5 thoughts on “Good? Grief

  1. In my experience, there was a lot of grieving after “my” fire, everyone, everywhere, for at least six months depending on how much damage they had experienced. Signs everywhere saying “Thank you Firefighters!” stayed up for a year or longer. People would spontaneously break into tears. My neighbor said we all had a kind of PTSD and we did. You couldn’t drive anywhere around without seeing the damage — all the way down to San Diego, anywhere in our immediate environment of several hundred square miles, the burned forest, all of it. The river that came through our town ran black with ash that winter in the rain. ❤ All of this just to say there would be something wrong with you if you were not grieving.

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