I decided to take a much-needed break from poring over volumes of critical approaches to Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. (Well, I did break earlier to vacuum and do a quick cleaning of my bathroom in order to maintain some semblance of cleanliness). I am pausing to document some thoughts and feelings I have experienced during the last week. One thing that has been plaguing me for some time now is that my own loneliness and grief consume me to the point that I fail to recognize how important it is that I stay strong for my family and friends.
I spent every free moment during the past week on academic matters. Since the English faculty at my college considered me worthy enough to apply for Sigma Tau Delta scholarships, I worked frantically to complete the application process. I finished. I do not have any hope of actually receiving a scholarship from the prestigious organization, but it will not be because I failed to try. Submitting the required material afforded me an opportunity to reflect on some academic accomplishments I achieved during my time as an undergraduate student. Most of my accomplishments occurred prior to Doyle’s death. Although I maintained a 4.0 grade point average until 2012, I received a ‘B,’ awards ceased to exist after 2010. It is as though after the one-year anniversary of his death (when the numbness began to wear off), a part of me slowly began to surrender to defeat.
I wish I could say that I did not cry myself to sleep last night, or that I have not cried today. Actually, I do say that, but only to placate others. This is my blog; I can be honest because only a few of my friends read it. Last night, the grief conquered my intention to study. The tears came unexpectedly and suddenly. Only the occasional gasps for air indicated that I still lived. My little schnauzer tried his best to console me, but exhaustion proved to be my only comfort. The tears have come frequently today as well, but I have managed to complete several tasks. I made a list of all the things I need to do and am working hard to concentrate on the listed tasks. Sadly, one of my tasks reads, “BREATHE.” I managed to breathe all week.
I received news that removed a great weight from my shoulders earlier. I learned that I will begin graduate school in the spring, despite all the technicalities of which I was concerned. I also learned that something I spent over three hours creating for two dear friends met with both their approvals. Two less things to worry about may seem minimal to most, but for me, it is a thread healing my broken heart and one of the beginning steps in remembering what hopefulness feels like.
During the previous week, through all my efforts to recapture a mere spark of my academic ability, I reflected on various awards I received throughout my life. I began earning awards when I was just a child. I was usually the winner or a runner-up in contests in which I dared to participate. That feeling of competitiveness, effort and hope ended when my husband’s life ended. The one thing that managed to silence my determination completely is grief. I will never be the person I once was. I evolved into a person I abhor—one who drowns in self-pity. I know that I will never again know love and I will be lonely for the rest of my life, but I also know that I must find that girl who could overcome anything to succeed. I must work harder to find stitches to help repair my broken heart. A dear friend told me that it seems as though I take one step forward only to be pushed back four steps. I must work harder to resist that force pushing me backward. I have to find that girl. I fear she is dead, but if not, and you catch a glimpse of her, please remind her that I need her.
©2012 Relinda R.