Yesterday, I got in my car, every square inch crammed with the detritus left over from almost 13 years in one place, and drove to Austin. Not to visit for the weekend but for good. I was a little teary, but fine. It felt so anticlimactic--it was hard to imagine that I was really leaving. An hour after I got here, I was standing in the middle of Randall's trying to find something for dinner because Mowgli informed me that there was absolutely no food in the apartment and that he wasn't eating Rice-a-Roni ever again. Nothing in the store was where it belongs (ie., where my Clear Lake Kroger puts it), I wandered around looking for things and suddenly felt overwhelmingly tired and sad and all I could think was, "I want to go home."
People keep asking me, "How are you doing with the move?" and I keep answering them "Fine!" And I really believe that I am fine--I feel fine--but I've also wondered, "So when does the grief kick in? When does this get hard?"
Well, now I think I know.
I'm learning that for me, grief feels like exhaustion, feeling too heavy to move and too tired to think. It also feels a little bit numb--not completely, just a little. Maybe I naturally have that magic cocktail of denial and detachment that takes the edge off. It feels like some tropical sleeping sickness. I kept telling C that I have malaria and it felt like I really did.
When I finally said the last goodbye, as we were driving away from our friends' house, fully aware that this was the last one, that the farewells were finally over, I suddenly felt tireder and heavier and slower than I have ever felt in my life. Finally, I was smart enough to realize, "So this is what grief feels like."
So here I am, in the apartment in Austin, trying to summon the energy to embrace the future, which right now means taking everything in my car to storage so that I can go with my parents tomorrow to my sister's bridal shower. Putting one foot in front of the other . . . and feeling the grief a little bit of fatigue at a time.