My first husband used the term often. I think it was actually in his benefit plan. He worked at the Board of Options and stress was part of the job. Sometimes, you just need to decompress, and when that time came he took a “Mental Health Day”.
I could feel the momentum building. Things got stuck to the point that I knew I needed to talk them through. I made the call Monday and I was able to get in to see my therapist yesterday. It was the first time in a couple of months. The crux of my grief was not the one year anniversary of the divorce. No, it wasn’t the ending that was caused my grief, it was the beginning that I mourned. Yesterday would have been my 15th wedding anniversary if I was still married.
This week, as part of this month that is filled with one anniversary after the next, is taking its toll on my mental health. Just like my cousin, Kim, told me Tuesday, Janet reiterated last night, acknowledging anniversaries is part of the grieving process. She told me it’s ok. I told Janet that writing through the anniversaries and also attending Al-Anon is exhausting me. I feel and fear I sound like an old lady saying “I am so tired” but Janet assured me that grieving is healthy and being tired from it is perfectly normal. Being authentic and living in your truth apparently expends a lot of energy? I felt better after we talked through the last couple of months; hernia repair, grounded from yoga and walks, Christmas Day, Al-Anon, Step 11, Improv, career changes, interviews, a maturing daughter, money worries, loneliness, and then all of the anniversaries. Phew, it was a busy hour. And looking at that long sentence, it was a busy couple of months.
When I finished up with Janet, I ran home, ate a sandwich, let the dogs out, and then took off again. I picked up my friend Karin, who asked me to be her guest for Bunco.
“How long have you ladies been playing Bunco together?” I asked shortly after arriving and introductions.
The query fueled discussion the entire night, through all three rounds, that by the time the evening ended we estimated the gathering was soon approaching its 25th anniversary. Wow! Twenty-five years of women gathering one night a month, when one woman hosts and another brings all the food and drink, and everybody throws in $12 dollars. The pot gets divvied among those who rolled big Buncos (I rolled three) and the player, or in last night’s case two players (tie), with the greatest number of wins. I went home $7 ahead.
I listened to the chatter about some players who had come and gone, typical discussion about the passage of time. I never once witnessed anything but fondness and respect from these women for one another. I felt honored to be in the company of women who had shared so much with one another over the years. One player told my friend Karin that she bought a gift certificate for her husband to Westside Improv after she learned that Karin took the class. He’s now in the intro class with our friend Linda.
As we readied to leave, I thanked all of the women for their lovely company. I told them that I was married on this day, and it was a pleasant surprise to spend the evening with them.
Today I struggled to finish a post that I have been working on about my move from Portland, Maine to Springfield, IL. That happened the first week of February in 2001. I walked away from it about 3 p.m. I ran to Mariano’s with every other person who stocked up on groceries in preparation for the storm. Bridget’s school district called on the way to the store, school is canceled tomorrow. I came home and made dinner, my mind nagged me about making good on my writing commitment of 90 days. Then I remembered “Mental Health Days”.
I know my silver linings are aplenty and am grateful beyond measure. That’s evidenced by the messages from friends who I have not seen nor spoken to in decades to new friends I have met and made connections with because of this blog. All of you fill my cup. This week and month’s anniversaries have filled my mind and weighted my heart. As Janet told me last night, I won’t fully be able to deal with all of this until I get some space this weekend when Bridget is with her father. Then I can have a long, needed cry. So I’m taking a mental health day, today. This wasn’t what I intended to write but I guess what I needed to write. And I am so grateful for the channel through which I can do it, and more importantly the audience who I can share it with.