Friday, March 23, 2012
A Student Again
As my official day of retirement, April 1, 2012, approaches I have mixed feelings about this involuntary retirement. I would have chosen to keep working and yet I am thankful that there are resources to help me when I no longer can work. I am still feeling challenged by episodes of guilt and shame for not working, even though I know that there is no guilt or shame attached to my situation other than what I impose on myself. I am doing things around the house which helps to make me feel useful and productive, and I am doing some writing and a lot of reading too. I really don't think I have actually starteed my grieving process yet. It all still seems so sudden and unexpected to me and I keep thinking that something miraculous is going to happen and change everything. Intellectually I know that is not going to happen but apparently my intellect never told my emotional self so part of me is still waiting for the surprise ending. One of the things that weighed heavily on me was the way in which I left work. I went to work on February 2, 2012, wasn't feeling well so I went home. Later that day I went to the doctor and was hospitalized. I have not been back to work since. There was no ritual or ceremony to my retirement. I really never thought of myself who values ritual or ceremony but I found that there was no touchstone for this transition in my life. The other day I was informed that my office is throwing me a retirement party. I was very pleasantly surprised. I am looking forward to the party (Friday March 30, 2012 at 5:30 at Caffe Mela in Wenatchee). I am touched, yet again, by the support of my colleagues and friends. I have been truly blessed even though it is hard to think so whenever I have to attach myself to the pump or see another doctor or submit to another medical procedure that gradually erodes what is left of my dignity. In the end I believe that my life is full of gifts and treasures and that my health issues are what they are. Becca has a job interview today. She is excited and nervous and then later on today I am teaching Becca to make scampi, Alice's favorite Italian meal. It is another gift to me that I get to teach my daughter to do something that I love, cook. Next weekend we make a traditional Italian Easter bread. So my task for the foreseeable future is to learn how to be retired and to submit to the grieving process. I have always taken great pride in that I am a lifelong learner committed to growth, so this should feel more natural and comfortable than it does right now. More to learn and miles to go before I sleep.