Saturday, March 10, 2012
Two years ago, my boss walked into my classroom and changed my life forever when she said "You need to go call your mom. I'll watch your class." I asked if it was about my dad and she did this little head wiggle, hesitated and said "...You just need to go call your mom."
My life would never be the same. I knew it from the way her head wiggled.
The thing is, things were already changing. In fact, it is safe to say that things in Non-Mommyland had gone from Threat Level Orange to Threat Level Red in a short time. There I was, a single woman with two college degrees and a miserable life. I hated where I lived. A major, major part of my life hurt me more deeply than she'd ever understand. The people I worked with were ugly and mean. I was angry and scared with a boss that I felt I couldn't trust. I felt like my life was wasting away, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. A new job wasn't an option. I was trapped. And sinking into a sea of despair. There I was, a grown woman, and I would leave my parents' house on the weekends bawling at the idea of returning to my job and the town I was living in.
It came to head one day during a math lesson when I went down like an anvil. By the end of the night, I was in my home, sobbing, unable to breathe, calling my mother and best friend/cousin over and over in hopes that maybe somehow one of them would magically be able to fix it all.
A few weeks later, I became ill with what seemed a normal cold. Given my high stress levels, my body didn't stand much of a chance. I contracted H1N1 and became ill very quickly. I developed bronchitis, pneumonia and laryngitis. I was too risky to be put in the hospital, so I laid in my bed, alone, for two weeks. I was the sickest I have ever, ever been. In fact, one night I laid in my bed, too weak to move and felt like this was it - I really was going to pass away. After I recovered from the worst of it, the laryngitis lingered for a month. I was unable to speak and had to teach by writing on the board, using the SmartBoard and typing, or whispering "Tell the class that I said..." into a child's ear.
My spirit was low, as was my body.
A few months later, I woke up in the middle of the night with severe nausea. By the morning, I was in great pain. I was able to take a shower, go to the doctor for blood tests, and return to my home in time to find out that I was suffering from appendicitis. I stood with my forehead against the wall in such intense pain I could hardly see straight. My parents came as soon as they were able, took me to the hospital, and I had what ended up being a very costly appendectomy.
Can stress cause appendicitis? Medically speaking, probably not. Do I attribute it to that? Yes.
This brings us to a few weeks later when the assistant principal came in and told me to call my mother. Deep in my soul, I knew. In fact, I'd just had a dream that he had died. I woke up worried about what would happen if he died in a hotel room and no one knew. That weekend, I had gotten out a copy of their will to read it to see what would happen if he died.
So, my father, on a business trip, left his hotel room, went to a Panera Bread for lunch, got his food, opened his laptop, and it was all over as he knew it.
It had been just a typical Wednesday morning. I'd had no idea that I'd end the day in another state, watching my poor father pass away while muttering "Oh, Dad. Oh, Dad."
I still miss him, incredibly. But because of his death, so much has changed for me. I've moved to somewhere that I love. I've taken a new job. The new job is a much, much healthier environment for me. I am making friends that are so funny and nice. My coworkers are pleasant, friendly and not mean and cold. I've found a church in my new area, and I love it.
I feel like a new person. I feel like the woman I used to be. The woman I was meant to be. Life is not perfect, no. Struggles still suck and I'm not naive enough to think I will never go through hard times because I've made changes. And yet, through the incredible pain, good has come. Plans were coming together for me long before I could ever see it. I miss my father every minute of every day. But his passing gave me the courage, the desire, the opportunity to make life changes. And I couldn't be happier. I only wish he could see, and know that I'm ok.
He'd want the best for me.
But really? He was the best.