After a few months off, this week I'm back at work. Back to routine, pressure, expectation and well, work. Having the long summer break has meant so much. It gave me time to face my pain and try to understand my loss. It allowed me space to try and start rebuilding and work out where my life now stands. I had the chance to travel and experience new things on my own (a tougher task than I had anticipated). But with all the positives came the difficulties - gaping open days full of fear and loneliness. A looseness and lack of structure that was as scary as it was unchartered. A relatively constant state of confusion, bewilderment and dizziness that made the simplest of tasks become some sort of obscure puzzle. The inevitable apathy - why bother getting up let alone getting dressed...
The first few days back at the grind have been good. I'm lucky to teach in a school with caring and friendly colleagues. I've been there for a decade as a member of staff so I know the place pretty well. It's been surprisingly nice to see the students again - while that might sound funny I mean it sincerely. There's something reassuring about seeing them again, taller and bigger but the same characters that left in May, growing and getting ready to go on and make their respective marks on society over the coming years. Like a sort of constant of some variety.
What I've found difficult is the commute and the return to the empty house.
Commuting is a funny space - you think, you dream, you communicate, you listen to music, you read... I shared my commutes with Liane in so many ways - music, messages, phone calls, photos etc. It was part of our relationship - tales about the world spinning around us, laughing and teasing, making plans for our evenings and weekends together. Like many other things that is gone now, altered abruptly and without farewell. In lieu I have a choppy sea of thoughts and newly haunting music all the while heading beck to meal times for one and an empty bed.
Routine can give you strength and structure but with it can come memories and melancholy, perhaps more then I anticipated. New steps like this aren't easy, I understand that, I just underestimate some of them and their power.