As far back as I can remember I've always been a very independent person. I like to take care of things myself without asking others for help. For the most part I've always seen myself as being strong, in control, and able to handle most situations. So what was happening now? Why did I suddenly feel so weak? Why did I feel as if I had lost control of everything in my life? It was hard enough for me to understand that I hadn't been able to help Eddie with his drinking problem. It was even more difficult for me to believe that I hadn't seen the signs or found a way to prevent him from taking his own life. It was almost impossible for me to accept that I hadn't been in control after all. This was all so different from anything I had ever experienced, and for the first time in my life I had no idea how to handle something.
As it came close to the time I had planned to return to work I began to realize I wasn't ready. Thankfully my principal agreed to let me return the first week after spring break for half days. That way I could be there to administer the CRCT to my class, ease myself back into working, and hopefully work my way up to full days the following week. I have worked in the same school for over 20 years - everyone there was like a second family to me. But the first day I returned I felt like a stranger in an unknown place. I knew all of the people - faculty, staff, students - but I didn't feel like I belonged there with them. I was self conscious walking down the hall, wondering what people were thinking as they saw me. No one said or did anything to make me feel this way. Everyone was caring and supportive just as they had always been. I was the one who had changed.
Instead of gaining strength as the week went on, I felt weaker and less in control every day. I tried not to let it show as long as I was at school. I waited until I left each day to "fall apart". By the time I left Friday afternoon I knew I wouldn't be back on Monday. I went out to eat that night with my mother, father, and granddaughter. As we left the restaurant what little strength and control I had been holding on to completely disappeared. The wall that had been around me protecting me the week of Eddie's death had crumbled. The numbness I felt that week was gone, and I had never experienced the type of pain I was now feeling.
I went straight to bed when I got home. Not because I thought I could sleep, but because I didn't have the energy or desire to do anything else. That night I cried like I've never cried before in my life. I reached a point where I wondered how I could possibly have any more tears left in me, but still I cried. In addition to the crying, I started to experience feelings of panic. I was terrified that I was slipping into a state of depression that I wouldn't be able to get out of. I tried to read devotionals and the Bible, but I couldn't. I tried to pray, but couldn't. I had that same feeling I had in the car the night I found out Eddie had died - I felt like God had abandoned me ... but why?
"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me, and I will listen to you." Jeremiah 29:11-12