Baby steps, that’s what I am taking. Tea out with Karin and Pat, first baby step. Dinner out with Gloria and Robin, second baby step. Decidedly normal activities, having a cup of tea or a meal with friends, but in my state of mind they are quite taxing. I worry that I have nothing to say, or that all I have to say is depressing or sad or about Kevin and that they don’t want to hear it. I worry that without Kevin I will lose my identity and consequently have nothing to offer people. Were “our” friends really “his” friends? He was an extrovert, quick on the uptake, never at a loss for words; I am an introvert, the person that comes up with a witty response long after the conversation has moved on. What is my value? There it is – I really wonder what is my value in this world?
I have value as a mother for sure, I love my children to bits. But the fact is they all are at the start of building their own families. My role is peripheral. They need to have a solid foundation within their own relationships to ensure their success and I recognize that. Although I’d like to believe that my role is bigger than that, I don’t think it is. Western culture encourages the nuclear family not the extended family, and that’s how my generation and many before were raised, should I expect different from my own children? This is one of the concepts that I now find myself grappling with – what are the expectations within my family – what do the children expect of me, and what do I expect of the children?
I have value as an employee. I enjoy my work and recognize that it will provide me with purpose and personal gratification once I am back at it in full form. My employer accommodated me throughout Kevin’s illness, the kindness and latitude they afforded me was remarkable and appreciated but, I think, reciprocal, as I have always worked to be a good and productive employee. Sounds corny but I worked years in the private sector before getting a government job – I am lucky and I know it.
It’s the value as an individual, apart from mother or employee that I question. I find myself wondering who I am at my core. When the fog lifts and the introspection is done, what will I find? Am I a “good” person? What makes a person a “good” person, a “good” friend? Are friends borne out of shared experiences, proximity, tenure? As a friend, what qualities do I bring to the table? As an individual within society, what do I offer? What are my priorities, and what should be my priorities? Every single aspect of my world has been impacted and it will take some time to restore order to the chaos that I now am in.
Questions, questions and more questions that’s where I am at right now.