I soaked in the coolness of the bath water and willed my fever to disappear. When I'm overheated, I tend to talk outloud to my mom, my sister and my Siamese cat. My one-way conversation with all three had me sounding very wise and knowledgeable - that, I remember...although I'm at a loss to repeat exactly what was discussed.
One of the concepts that finally seeped into my brain was: You can't throw away your life when other people die.
I know several people who have lost more family members that I have - and yet they move forward, continue to thrive and deal with their grief strictly on an internal level.
I didn't do that. I ditched most everything that I had in my life to hide away and rebuild.
For the first few years, I didn't care. My goal was to get lost and sort things out. But now...something is growing inside of me that wants me to Return. I see photos of my California friends having lunch together, and I get very sad. I don't have any friends like that here...the ones that take years to cultivate and become family.
I long to have my old job and be back in the Groove. But the thing that really made that meaningful was my old boss and my direct reports. Most everyone is gone.
I don't want to move back to California, but I do miss the beach. Trader Joe's. Half Moon Bay. Sausalito. Monterey. St. Helena. Burlingame Ave. The Farmer's Market in San Francisco. Driving across the Bay Bridge. My old neighbors. And our multi-racial, highly friendly church.
I'm not sad, and I don't want to go back to the life that I used to have - I am just hopeful that I can put my life back together in some similar ways. I've made some tiny inroads but suffered a couple of huge disappointments. Sometimes I wonder if I have isolated myself to the point of Has-Been-ness.
All of this was running through my mind as I sat in the bath tub and fought the high fever. And it dawned on me that I've come a long way - which is good, since I cut most everything and everyone out of my life so I could deal with my trauma.
If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't have been so extreme.