This morning my son walked into his first day of the first grade which means, among many other things including time moving far too quickly, that summer break is over.
There’s so much hope in the beginning, isn’t there? The warm weather, the sun, the long days: it all leads you to believe that summer will be magic. There will be popsicles and lie-ins and dips in the pool and, if you’re lucky, trips to the beach.
But this summer break felt like a tease. There was the promise of a break. Of slower, gentler times. I allowed myself to be hopeful. To look forward to friends and family visiting. To my son being off from school. Summer would be the season of yes— that’s what I told myself.
However, it became quickly clear that I was too unhappy to enjoy it. I couldn’t shake the fact that my mother wouldn’t be a part of any of it. She would have loved knowing her grandchildren were finally spending time together here in Vegas. She would have cheered along with me when DJ finally turned a corner in his swimming lessons. She would have understood when I complained about the summer heat. I think in upwards of thirty things each day that I wish I could tell her. And then I become even more sad.
I told my husband the other day that I accomplished nothing I’d hoped to this summer. I didn’t wiggle my toes deep into the California sand or find my way back to writing. Work didn’t slow one tiny bit. My stress levels didn’t drop. I had my brother in my home—my sister-in-law and two nieces for the first time—and yet I couldn’t fully enjoy it. Same thing when my best friend and her family visited.
Despite my optimism, grief has clouded every moment of the past three months. And now, with the return of school days, summer is over.
I wrote in May that I was exhausted in a way that was deep and dramatic. It had been only four weeks since I’d lost my mother, but now, at nearly seventeen weeks, I feel no better. In some ways I feel worse. I am still exhausted. I still miss her. I still mourn the future that was taken away from us. I feel a profound heaviness in my heart when I’m faced with the reminder that she will miss watching her three grandchildren grow up.
I don’t quite know how the rest of the year will unfold, how my grief will continue to manifest itself, but I’m trying to summon some of that hope I had back in June. And you better believe I’m still trying to find a way to get my toes into some warm, California sand.