Monday, December 5, 2011

The Journeys Within

My alarm goes off at 5:03 am, and the snooze seems the only option.  With my current timing, I only get two snoozes, and then I face reality: it is time to get up.

I drink my glass of water because it is what the French do, and it is supposed to help with my complexion.  I check my e-mails, but nothing exciting catches my interest.  The rest of the routine goes according to schedule, but a thought remains cemented in my mind.

It is the anniversary.  Four years ago today, my granddad passed away.  The remembrance causes me to see my mother collapsing to the ground in our hallway.  She was incapable of communicating other than the sounds that escaped as she had to breathe between the releasing of her heartache.  I remember not knowing how to console her and also deal with the loss of someone I loved too.

As I take my pug for her walk, I lose control of my thoughts.  The darkness of the early morning reminds me of the late night drive to my grandparents' house, or rather, my grandmother's house now.
The ride was quiet as the news began to settle in.  It is after 10:00 pm and one hour passes.  Traveling lost its appeal.  The destination was not promising.  Another hour had been donated to the road.  The silence led to thoughts that seemed to be unable to be uttered.  Finally the third hour passed as we began to approach my mom's hometown.  On the way to the house, we passed the hospital.  I thought of my granddad and wondered where his spirit was; it was in that hospital a few hours ago.  Death always reminded me of the incomprehensible thoughts of what happens next.  Thoughts that I repressed because I didn't know how to take on the weight of the answers.

We reached the house, and my dad and I dropped off my mom.  The hour was late, and my grandmother was sleeping, though I don't know how.  The car headlights shined on the garage as we backed out of the driveway, and began the return journey home.

As I sat in the passenger seat, we covered the tracks that were just made on the trip down.  The fact that the rest of our lives didn't stop amazed me.  I would be back at work in a few hours and I must teach as though nothing has happened.  Somehow student teaching seemed to be the only logical thing to do.  I felt like everything in my world should have stopped because my granddad's life did.

My brain became worn down as the adrenaline wore off from the emotional toil.  The drive home became more treacherous than we expected.  Both of us were falling victim to drowsiness and staying on the road seemed impossible.  We switched drivers several times, but the road ahead seemed long and ruthless.  Beyond our understanding, we made it home and went to bed around 3:00 am.  Two hours of sleep would not be enough, but the rest of the process would have to wait until we were awake.

Just as I went to work then, I must go to work now.  For some reason, facing this day seems more challenging than the previous year.  I miss my granddad.  As I continue to try to figure out who I am, I realize how much we had in common.  The very subject that I teach was a close passion of his.
I go through work and nobody notices my internal battle of the day.  I drudge through the day, trying to avoid interactions.  Working with 137 students makes this task challenging.  The time comes where I can pack up.  As I grab my coat and purse, the phases of the moon poster I have hanging up comes into view.  Rather than finding strength in the memories, I feel an overwhelming sense of loss and wonder what influence he could have made on me with more time.  I close my door in my classroom as I leave.  Although I wish I could close the door on my worries and fears, I don't know that I should.

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