The straws stacked up higher and higher. My daughter has an ice skating accident and loses consciousness. My stress fracture from the summer makes a reappearance in the form of throbbing toes. My mother-in-law falls down and can’t get up and I have to call 911. An afternoon in the emergency room. A meeting. A flurry of activity. Demands for this and that. Confrontations. I simmer, I burn.
Driving to the grocery store, it finally hits me. I can stop this frantic spinning. I can stop being and feeling responsible for so much and for so many. I am not a necessity. People will find their own way.
Japanese ink painting. The Sumi class is my weekly quiet oasis, practicing, experimenting, breathing into each stroke. Today, everyone talked and stood around. My oasis – a space and time that stands everything still and silent, just the strokes of the brush – was gone. I scrunched my eyebrows and tried to ignore them. Leaf, stem, leaf, petal. Breathe.
The headache began.
Emails poured in, the phone vibrated itself across the table. Questions, requests, plans, excuses.
I barely see my family. I barely feel my life.
My mother-in-law looks tired. Changes are coming and she knows there’s no stopping them. She seems defeated and a little lost. I know our time together is a short certainty.
I try to hold the disparate pieces of my life together. I organize, I call, I email. I try to plan for eventualities.
My writing pours into memos, emails and flyers. Empty printer cartridges fill my garbage can. I don’t save the files. I’ll never want to read them again.
I call the senior services coordinator. She’s heard it all before. The fall, a walker, a life alert pendant. I’m all business. I ask the right questions, schedule appointments, make a list. I’m good at that.
And back to the school, to pick up my daughter, the whole reason for much of this busy-ness. I hug her briefly as she passes into her tweens.
Back to emails and phone calls. My family is downstairs. Together.
Enough. Finis. Everything goes. No returns.
My last email of the day. I quit.