Recently, someone said to me that it seemed as though I came back from my trip and hit the ground running, to which I replied that it was a lot more like I came back and just hit the ground. If you've ever been in a car accident, then you have some sense of how it felt over the first 2 weeks of my homecoming.
There was the first rush of friends, the giddy excitement of catching up in person for the first time in a year, drinks under umbrellas on outdoor patios, lunch out at my favorite place overlooking the river. Then there was a sickening thud somewhere in my middle. I walked outside whenever I could, visiting trails I'd never been to before, accepting invitations to parties and outings, making multiple plans for each day to ensure that there was no break.
There was a screeching noise, like metal being wrenched apart, and then the shattering of glass, shards spreading out in a dizzying whirlwind around me. I walked more, now taking my dogs along, organizing and reorganizing the boxes of things I had yet to truly sort, frantic to escape. There was a final shuddering thud, and the world stopped spinning. I started to cry and didn't stop for 2 days.
One thing is for sure, I'm more in touch with the process of grief than at any other time in my life. I didn't exactly see it that way at the time but in retrospect, I went through a profound sadness, unexpectedly quickly.
This episode found me in a physician's office, barely able to speak for crying so hard, asking for medication to get me back on track. I saw a new doctor since my regular one was on vacation, and it reminded me again of just how awful it is to have to self-advocate at a time when the very best thing would be to not have to do that at all.
I took medicine for 2 weeks and recovered. I hibernated in my room until I could be better company, then slowly made my way back out into the world, slowly finding a rhythm to my days, the small, secret things that bring me happiness, like water drops on a blade of grass or a hidden bird's nest.
The world was still there, going about its business, waiting for me to find this new pace of life. I found the energy to start looking for a job, reached out to a couple of close friends for daily support to keep me propped up, and waded in.