I have arrived in San Antonio and started falling into a routine, sometimes I think, how am I doing this, day after day? Is this it?
Deciding to come back to Texas was difficult, before my dad died we had a pretty sad heart to heart. He was telling me how much he didn’t want to leave me and made me promise if anything happened I would come home. Then I could hear Carl saying, “whatever happens, stick it out in Denver. You are already here.”
Little did they both know I would struggle for months with both of these conversations. Which one made more sense? But, eventually I knew I needed to get back to Texas, I had family in Texas.
Denver was amazing, everything and everyone was new to me. They knew me for me without Carl so it seemed the most logical choice if I was going to have a new life.
But my dad’s voice prevailed and I came home. I started working for a small insurance firm. The owner was a lady who knew her business but I had come from a 500 man office in Denver so moving into a space where I had less than a cheese cube was difficult. I was learning to adapt. I had a good book of business but it was nothing like what I was doing in Denver. True consulting with a small team of 4. But, I adapted and learned new things. And I told myself if I could ever leave to go back to a big firm I would consider it. But for now it was a good schedule. Get up go to work less than 3 miles away, come home for lunch and then return to work. Forty straight hours of a schedule.
I made a good friend in the other Account Manager. We would laugh together and had the widow thing in common. Ironically, when I worked at a large insurance carrier, years earlier, I was among a group of colleagues that attended a funeral of a associate that worked with us. I really did not know her at the time, but we would eventually work together in this small agency years later. Small world, right?
She was a guiding light for me in my moments of grief and uncertainty. And more importantly she made me laugh.
So here I was doing my schedule, day after day. 5 days a week. This was training for me and I knew it. I was working through a lot of emotions all at the same time. But each day I would bottle them up and do my schedule.
One Friday I am alone, my kids have gone out to do their fun things and I watch TV until it is time to go to bed. Netflix has become my best friend. I look at the dogs and say, “time to get to bed.” We turn off lights, walk through the house and lock up. When I get into my bedroom, I look into the mirror to take my jewelry off. As I am unhooking an earring, I look into the mirror and stare at my eyes. The brown eyes I was born with and look at every day when I brush my teeth and do other mindless things. But this time, I catch myself really looking into the brownness of my eyes and I stare. Tears start to swell up in the corners and as hard as I try to fight back they come flooding in fast. I ask myself what has made this moment so sad for me?
And the reality is this: will I ever be as loved again in my lifetime as I was by Carl or even my dad?
It is a true moment of sadness and terror. The reality of having a schedule is that it keeps you from feeling the real pain of loss and what the true loss is. It keeps you busy to avoid the pain.
I wipe my tears and say to myself, “love yourself Esther, just love you.”
The mirror never lies to you.